MGI Weekly round-up | 12th May 2017

Stories MGI has been tracking this week:
 
● Turkey’s President Erdogan heads to the White House
● Russian investors flock to Moscow-on-the-Mediterranean
● Tunisia sends in the military as protests hit oil and gas output
 
And as always, we feature content from the MGI data and analysis platform, a summary of the week’s key statistical releases, and a look at the week ahead in data.

Turkey’s president heads to the White House
While MGI keenly follows events in the U.S. each week and what they will bring to the Mediterranean region, next week will be about what the Mediterranean brings to the U.S. Donald Trump will host Turkish President Recep Erdogan on Tuesday, May 16th.
 
The meeting follows Erdogan’s referendum victory that greatly increased the powers of his presidency. It is expected to involve discussions on how the two allies can further cooperate to fight terrorism. Turkey has recently raised objections to Trump’s plan to arm Kurdish forces in Syria.

Russian investors flock to “Moscow-on-the-Mediterranean”
Keeping with the U.S. theme, Cyprus’s investment-for-passports program continues to pop up in relation to Donald Trump’s team and its Russian connections. At the price of investing €2 million, foreigners can become Cyprus citizens in less than six months.
 
A Bloomberg piece this week described the program in detail, illustrating the programme’s success at attracting Russian finance. The investment inflow has been a key part of Cyprus’s recovery following the collapse of its banking system in 2013. Despite its success, the programme’s handlers are beginning to worry that increasing EU pressure will put an end to its contributions to Cyprus’s recovery.

Tunisia sends in the military as protests hit oil and gas output
On Wednesday, Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi ordered the army to protect its energy production facilities from protests that have halted production at Baguel and Tarfa fields. Protesters have been using sit-ins and road blockades to draw attention to growth-oriented economic reforms that they argue will have negative effects on jobs and social equity. 
 
In the first act of its kind in Tunisia, troops have arrived to set up barbed wire barricades around facilities. The government is particularly interested in protecting the phosphate sector, where production has reached its highest levels since 2010. The government has plans to double production in 2017.

Featured content from the MGI.online data and analysis portal
On Thursday, Greece released its employment statistics for February 2017. The economy added 7000 jobs, bringing unemployment down to 23.2%. January was revised downward to 23.3%. MGI updates its economic performance scorecards in real time, allowing users of our platform to assess performance and potential of each country’s labour market (among other statistics) at a glance. 

The week in data
France, Greece, and Turkey led the way in this week’s market moving data releases:
 
● France’s economy added 49,400 jobs in its non-farm payroll employment release, increasing for the 8th consecutive quarter (Insee: http://bit.ly/2qbAGK1). Industrial production bounced back in March, rising 2.0% after falling 1.7% in February (Insee: http://bit.ly/2piSoOt).
● As described in our featured content from MGI.online, Greece added 7000 jobs in February bringing unemployment down to 23.2%, according to its monthly LFS survey. January was revised downward to 23.3% (Elstat: http://bit.ly/2pFeDdz). Also published this week, Greece's trade deficit rose 36.2% in March to €2.1 billion. Imports rose 55.8% from outside the EU and 12.3% from inside the EU (Elstat: http://bit.ly/2pu8zoh). 
● Turkey's industrial turnover index grew 1.2% in March compared to the previous month, and 26.4% compared to March 2016 (Turkstat: http://bit.ly/2q5J7s8). Turkey’s industrial production in March rose 1.3% compared to one month earlier and 2.8% versus March 2016. The gains were led by mining and manufacturing (Turkstat: http://bit.ly/2qMvdMz).

Looking ahead
The week begins in a big way with April inflation and first-quarter GDP statistics for most of the Mediterranean’s top economies. These are the key statistics that the region’s central banks will use to shape monetary policy over the coming months. MGI’s complete data release schedule can be viewed at https://www.mgi.online/release-calendar/.
 
Monday 15th May, 2017:
● Turkey unemployment rate for February
● Italy inflation for April
● Greece GDP 2017Q1 preliminary estimate
● Israel inflation rate for April
● Cyprus real GDP for 2017Q1
● Morocco real GDP for 2017Q1
 
Tuesday 16th May, 2017:
● France inflation for April
● Italy GDP 2016Q1 advanced estimate
● Israel GDP 2017Q1 first estimate
 
Wednesday 17th May, 2017:
● Italy balance of trade for March
● Croatia CPI for April
 
Thursday 18th May, 2017:
● France unemployment rate for 2017Q1

Friday 19th May, 2017:
● Italy current account for March
● Slovenia employment (register data) for March