Why did the Greece stock-market fall in Dec. 2014?

  • 09 Dec 2014 - biggest drop since 1987 global stock market crash, triggered by PM Samara's announcement of snap Presidential election.
  • Chance of radical left Syriza party coming to power, which would cause problems for Greece's place in EU monetary union.
  • Syriza want to renegotiate Greece's sovereign debt, i.e. would mean debt write-off or the euro's first exit.

What is Abenomics?

  • Economic policy of Japan PM Shinzō Abe, introduced in his second term commencing Dec. 2012.
  • Based on "3 arrows" of [1] fiscal stimulus, [2] monetary easing and [3] structural reforms (i.e. reflation + government spending aimed to kill the 20 year recession Japan has suffered).
  • As of Dec. 2014, mixed results as worse than expected recession but strong current account (due to weaker yen, strong exports and resurgent tourism receipts).

Who is Shinzō Abe? (1954 – present)

  • Current Prime Minister of Japan (re-elected Dec. 2012 after 1 year term 2006/7) + President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
  • Economic policy dubbed Abenomics (monetary & fiscal expansion and inflation target of 2%).
  • Viewed as a right-wing nationalist.

What was the Japan recession 2014?

  • Triggered by April 2014 tax increase.
  • Significantly worse than anticipated - led to large contraction in business spending, cuts in company inventories & falls in private investment.
  • Described by some as "failure of Abenomics", despite strong current account performance (weaker Yen) for the year.

Who is Colleen Bell? (1967 – present)

  • US TV producer (the Bold & the Beautiful) & philanthropist, & raised US$2.1m for Obama's '12 Presidential campaign.
  • Appointed US ambassador to Hungary in December 2014.
  • Made it clear in her Senate hearing that she knows little about the country.

What was the Maldives water crisis in 2014?

  • Began November 2014 when a fire damaged cables and controls at Malé's (the capital) only water desalination plant.
  • This left 100,000 inhabitants (approx. 1/3rd of the country's population) without water.
  • India (followed by Sri Lank & China) responded by sending water supplies by military transport plane and ship.

What is the South Stream gas pipeline?

  • Project to pipe Russian gas under the Black Sea to Europe (via Bulgaria), bypassing Ukraine.
  • Aimed to circumvent Ukraine and thus avoid disruptions to supply to Europe because of disputes between Russia and Ukraine.
  • EU objected to the plan (due to non-compliance with EU competition and energy legislation) and Russia abandoned the project in Dec. 2014.
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