Americas: Austerity measures to continue to fuel unrest in Brazil
Sectors: all
Key Risks: violent civil unrest; strikes; political instability

In Brazil, further demonstrations to protest against a proposed constitutional amendment to cap public spending should be expected across the country’s main urban centres, particularly in the capital Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Labour strikes and associated unrest are scheduled for 25 November. The votes on President Michel Temer’s controversial measure are expected to be on 29 November and 13 December. Incidents of potentially violent unrest are also likely on those dates, particularly in the vicinity of government buildings. Police have recently used forceful measures to disperse protesters on several anti-austerity demonstrations, particularly in the crisis-ridden state of Rio de Janeiro, where austerity measures are also being implemented. These will likely foment tensions that are expected to persist at least over the coming months.

Asia-Pacific: Thousands march demanding Malaysian Prime Minister’s resignation
Sectors: all
Key Risks: protests; political instability

Tens of thousands protested in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Fewer people are believed to have attended the demonstration than they did last year, but if Najib holds early elections next year there could be a renewed wave of anti-government protests. The demonstrations were largely non-violent, although the government has arrested 13 opposition leaders over the last couple of days, as it continues to focus on degrading the opposition’s organisational capacity. However, with respected former Prime Minister Mahathir supporting the opposition, there are limits to what the government can do. Najib has been accused of mass corruption primarily related to the diversion of US$700m from state fund 1MDB to his personal account, but is likely to survive the crisis given he retains support from within the Barisan Nasional coalition.

Eurasia: Mixed messaging over Trump implications for Moscow
Sectors: energy; banking; finance; defence
Key Risks: sanctions; business interruption

Senior Kremlin officials issued a number of statements over the past week claiming that they expect US President-elect Donald Trump to draw back sanctions on Russia, and in particular on sanctioned state-owned companies including Rosneft and Gazprom. Russian media also reported that ‘sectoral sanctions’ that prohibit the export of dual-use goods, fracking and offshore technology, amongst others, were expected to be loosened or lifted. However, Trump has also sought to assuage NATO’s concerns over his campaign rhetoric, which was extremely critical of the alliance. NATO claimed Trump “underlined NATO’s enduring importance” during a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The statement has failed to dispel fears in Eastern Europe Trump’s presidency may embolden Moscow and that Trump could seek to alter the mutual defence clause in Article 5. However, doing so would require a Senate supermajority and is very unlikely.

Europe: Growing divergence over attention to deficit targets
Sectors: finance, sovereign credit
Key Risks: political stability, deficit growth

Amid acrimony within the EU over Brexit and lingering tensions from last year’s migrant crisis, new tensions amongst EU member states and Brussels bureaucrats over the importance of deficit targets warrant further attention. On 16 November, the European Commission reported the 2017 budgets of Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, risked violating its spending rules, which require budget deficits be within 3 per cent of GDP. Last year Spain and Portugal avoided sanctions over failing to meet the targets, and Brussels’ lack of discipline in enforcing the bloc’s economic rules came came under criticism by Jens Weidmann, head of Germany’s central bank. This is a criticism increasingly shared in Berlin and throughout the German government. Disputes over budget spending could significantly exacerbate intra-EU tensions in the event Germany seeks to force the EU to act to enforce them.

MENA: Labour unions dig in against retirement reforms in Algeria
Sectors: public sector; energy production and distribution; healthcare; teaching
Key Risks: strike action; limited protests; limited civil unrest

The public sector labour union protest movement against impending reforms has gained some momentum with the added participation of the National Independent Syndicate of Electricity and Gas Workers (SNATEG), which represents employees of Algerian state-owned electricity and gas distribution utility Sonelgaz. The attitude of  the coalition of labour unions pushing back against the reforms to retirement, and to the proposed 2017 budget, which includes other economic reforms likely to impact Algeria’s working class,  will continue and may harden as 2017 fast approaches. Strikes, already regular by different unions, will increase in the coming weeks. This week, the strikes are unlikely to lead to any violence, although a residual risk given the potential for a miscalculated police response remains.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Long-delayed Malian local elections marred by violence
Sectors: all
Key Risks: post-electoral violence; militant attacks; kidnap; political instability

Low turnout and violence marked Mali’s long-delayed local elections on 20 November. Five soldiers transporting ballot boxes were killed after their convoy was ambushed by unidentified armed men. In a separate attack in Dilli, a civilian was killed, while ballot boxes were burnt in polling stations in Timbuktu and other towns across the north. An opposition candidate was also reportedly kidnapped in the central town of Koro. Polls were cancelled in at least seven districts owing to security concerns, and were also criticised given the extent of internal displacement in the country. Despite the presence of UN troops and French military intervention, Mali remains under a state of emergency given the volatile situation in the north. A number of jihadist and armed groups operate despite the peace deal brokered in 2015. Further sporadic post-electoral violence cannot be ruled out over the coming days.