Country risk March 2004: Risk improvement defies politics
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Country risk March 2004: Risk improvement defies politics

Country risk index: The strong currency is damaging economic performance in the eurozone. But the outlook for some emerging markets is brighter, thanks to rising commodity prices and improving prospects for Asia. Paul Pedzinski and Andrew Newby report.

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Euromoney's country risk analysts agree that the improvement in global economic conditions so far this year will continue into 2005, with strong growth globally. Rising US trade and budget deficits, the continuing war on terror and geopolitical instability do not overly concern them.

Thierry Apoteker of TAC Consulting says that "a better international environment, especially for commodity and oil producers, has combined with a renewed risk appetite by international investors to trigger simultaneous improvement in growth performances and improved external balances in many countries, notably in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent".

The economy of the US (ranked 4) has recovered strongly, with a growth rate of 3.9% forecast for 2004 and 3.6% for 2005.

Japan's (15) ranking has improved thanks to a recent upsurge in demand, as well as export growth. Its upswing was driven in part by better investment prospects in the manufacturing sector and fast-growing markets in other Asian economies.

There is a consensus on strong growth in Asia among Euromoney's analysts.

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