Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> EMEA Wednesdays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

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GLOBAL RISK

Illiberal Stagnation Today, a quarter-century after the Cold War’s end, the West and Russia are again at odds. This time, though, at least on one side, the dispute is more transparently about geopolitical power, not ideology. -Project Syndicate

EUROPE RISK

EU ambassador addresses cooperating with US on Russian aggression David O’Sullivan testified on how Europe and the US can jointly address Russian aggression. -Politico.eu

German president Steinmeier blasts Brexit and populism President Steinmeier warned that populists were using nationalism to keep focus away from the big picture in his first speech to the EU parliament. He called Brexit "bitter" and "irresponsible." -DW

French presidential hopefuls clash over economy, Europe in marathon debate -France24

Marine Le Pen’s tricky alliance with Donald Trump In the early hours of Nov. 9, Marine Le Pen was the first foreign politician to congratulate the new U.S. president-elect. In the weeks that followed, the leader of France’s far-right National Front did everything she could to tie her presidential campaign to the upset victory of Donald Trump, claiming that she would be the next chapter in a global populist revolt against the “establishment.” -The Washington Post

UK-Spain tensions over Gibraltar flare A senior Conservative politician made comparisons with the 1982 Falklands conflict. Senior British politicians stoked a war of words with Spain over Gibraltar, as a former leader of the U.K. Conservative Party suggested London would use force to defend the disputed territory in the event of Spanish aggression. -Politico.eu

Xi’s Nordic Stopover on His Way to U.S. Reveals a Global Trade Shift Before his first meeting with Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping will stop over in Helsinki. More than just logistics, the Finnish trip reflects a fundamental shift in commercial and diplomatic ties. -Bloomberg

LIVING THE HYPERBOLE >> No offense to Finland; but it’s market is not particularly a posterchild for a “fundamental shift”

EU parliament endorses tighter emissions checks The EU parliament in Strasbourg has approved concrete proposals to tighten vehicle emissions rules and to provide proper compensation to European consumers following the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal. -DW

RUSSIA RISK

Russian metro bombing puts Putin's Syria policy to the test Kremlin-watchers say the risk is that Russian voters could decide, after seeing the destruction in St Petersburg, that the Syrian operation is making them more vulnerable to such attacks - not safer as Putin promised. -Reuters

MIDDLE EAST RISK

Syria 'chemical attack' down to Assad, US says -BBC

Syria chemical 'attack': Russia blames rebel weapons -BBC

How the world responds to chemical gas attacks: Outcry but no real action -The Washington Post

“Airstrikes on the northwestern town of Sheikh Khanoun began just after daybreak, delivering an unidentified chemical agent that killed at least 58 people and filled clinics across the area with patients foaming at the mouth or struggling to breathe.”

AFRICA RISK

Trump backs Sisi as he seeks to 'reboot' US-Egypt ties Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is visiting the White House for the first time since he led the military's overthrow of his predecessor in 2013. -BBC

Allies abandon South Africa President Jacob Zuma South Africa's powerful trades union federation Cosatu has called for President Jacob Zuma to step down. -BBC

Zuma Said to Survive Calls to Quit Ruling South Africa's ANC South African President Jacob Zuma survived calls to resign by members of the ruling party following his decision to fire his finance minister and stack the cabinet with loyalists, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. -Bloomberg

FX>> The rand reversed earlier gains.

EMEA || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

EU clears ChemChina takeover of Syngenta with conditions ChemChina [CNNCC.UL] won EU antitrust approval on Wednesday for its $43 billion bid for Swiss pesticides and seeds group Syngenta (SYNN.S), a crucial deal that could help China boost its domestic agricultural output. -Reuters

Credit Suisse scandal threatens Swiss efforts to clean up reputation -Reuters

GM's German-made Buick highlights risks from trade policy General Motors Co (GM.N) on Tuesday unveiled a German-made Buick crossover wagon it plans to sell in the United States, and in so doing highlighted the U.S. auto industry's vulnerability to shifting trade politics. -Reuters

MOVING FAST >> JAB Holding to buy bakery chain Panera Bread in $7.5 billion deal -Reuters

Trump Faces Test as Boeing Announces Deal to Sell Jetliners to Iran The Boeing Company announced a tentative agreement on Tuesday to sell up to 60 737s to an Iranian airline, a transaction valued at $6 billion that angered American critics of Iran and appeared likely to test the Trump administration’s avowed hostility toward that country. -NYT

AN UNDERRATED MARKET >> Made in Senegal? New industrial park woos Chinese firms Four new factory buildings rise up from fields on the outskirts of Senegal's capital, the first phase of a government plan to woo Chinese companies shifting low-end manufacturing to Africa as wages in East Asia rise. -Yahoo Finance

GLOBAL MACRO

Zuma calls for calm after sovereign debt downgrade As S&P downgrades South Africa's credit rating to junk, a powerful trade union organization has now branded him as not the "right person" to lead the country. -DW

World Bank provides $445 million loan to Ethiopia -NBE

Senegal at 57: Oil investment boom fuels growth hopes BP has bought equity in Kosmos Energy’s Tortue oil project, while Cairn Energy is drawing up detailed plans to develop the nearby SNE oil field. Most recently, between January and March, Scottish oil company Cairn drilled the SNE 5 appraisal well to a depth of 2,853m and the well uncovered further oil, confirming the company’s expectations. -Africa Business

Commodity hedge fund Blenheim sees upside in copper, zinc -Reuters