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Nomura have highlighted their geopolitical threats for 2011, and many of them are to be expected.From the lack of consensus in the U.S. Congress, to the eurozone, to China’s power transition, they’ve pointed out the problems we’ve all seen and heard about.
But, Nomura have another 11, and these are far more interesting.
On the fringe of the world, these political crises could grow in 2011 to become real stories, and make the overly predictable problems previously mentioned seem inferior.
Brazil has a new president in Dilma Rousseff, who will become be in power starting January 1. She is faced with a key decision early in her administration, whether she's willing to cut government spending or will increase interest rates.
Either way, the goal is to tame inflation by 1%. Markets prefer a public spending cut. But Rousseff may have other ideas, with a two-thirds majority in both houses and developmentalists on her economic team.
Iraq may be close to picking its next parliament, but the country's progress towards 10 million barrels per day production remains in doubt.
Adding to political uncertainty is the threat of more terrorism, influence from Iran, and the departure of U.S. troops.
The month of January is full of elections for Nigeria. This could lead to riots, which have an impact on oil exports.
Pakistan could be faced with a political crisis as a result of the floods which have destroyed large portions of the country. The army has been the main winner here, leading relief efforts.
The country's military is also slowly changing its position on religious militants in the country. But they are alive and well, and if groups in the country to attack India again, it could lead to a larger conflict between the two.
Peru's election this year is a long ways from being decided, and with 5 candidates standing, it looks like it will be heading for a runoff.
The big worry surrounds whomever is elected. Economic reforms needed to stimulate growth are unlikely to be passed.
It's unknown whether Russian Prime Minister Putin will be moving onto greener pastures, like becoming mayor of London, or if he will try to take back the Presidency from Medvedev.
Nomura don't think this uncertainty will be hurting growth, per se, but Medvedev staying in power in 2012 should help Russian stability and economic growth.
While the previous violent protests by Red Shirts in Thailand have calmed down, there's the change they might spike again this year.
Members of the political party associated with the movement are going on trial in 2011. And results could send protesters back to the streets.
The IMF and the Ukraine's government have nailed down an agreement that should see the country get part of its $1.6 billion bailout agreement. But there are no guarantees it will be the whole thing, or that it will definitely go through.
While the popular vote is shifting away from Chavez in Venezuela, this looks like it won't slow his nationalization programme.
Instead, we're likely to get more political unrest and more nationalization. The worst of both.
Embroiled in trade skirmishes with both the U.S. and EU, Vietnam's communist congress in January is likely to set the stage for the future attitude of the country.
There will be decisions on target inflation rates, monetary policy, and GDP aims, but also the selection of a new generation of leaders, who will dictate policies and the country's relationship with the broader world.
Yemen, the source for 2010's mail bomb plot, continues to be unstable. The threat of a growing power centre for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula may make the country more of a flash point in 2011, than it has been in 2010.
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