Tuesday, 19th June 2018
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John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

The world’s 5 most unhappy countries

The misery index is an economic indicator created by economist Arthur Okun. It helps determine how the average citizen is doing economically and it is calculated by adding the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to the annual inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation create economic and social costs for a country. The data is based on projections for 2018 from Bloomberg.

5 - Turkey.

While public cries of 'doom’ in Turkey seem to be slightly exaggerated, there is no doubt the country is looking at trouble. Inflation in the Turkish economy sits around 10%. Like Argentina, Turkey’s lira has gone into freefall. On the political front, Turkish president Recep Erdogan has attempted to curb the independence of Turkey’s central bank. That combined with accusations of political persecution following the attempted coup against him in 2016 does not paint a pretty picture.

4 - Egypt.

Egypt’s population has hit 93.1 million. Despite pro-market reform, the country’s economy boasts some concerning key performance indicators. Unemployment remains high in the country at 11.8%, despite the fact that in the last few years it has been in steady decline. Likewise, Egypt’s public debt remains at over 100% of its gross domestic product, despite its own target of reductions to 97% in 2018/19.

3 - Argentina.

Argentina is indisputably one of the great footballing nations of the world. Off the pitch things have not been going so well. Last month, Argentina’s central bank hiked interest rates from 27.5% to 40% to avoid further capital outflows. Argentina’s peso has gone into freefall recently, prompted by panic selling by investors. The country has now been forced to ask the International Monetary Fund for financial aid.

2 - South Africa.

Bloomberg predicted that South Africa would be the second most miserable economy in the world in 2018. Legislative uncertainty surrounding the country’s mines has hampered things, despite the fact that the government has reached out to resolve disputes over the country’s third Mining Charter. Despite that there have been some positive signals. The South African rand has strengthened by about 12% since the African National Congress elective conference in December last year and 10-year government bond yields are down, which has reduced borrowing costs.

1 - Venezuela

Venezuela’s troubles were triggered by the collapse in the oil price in 2014, and its travails seem to have gone from bad to worse ever since. Ambitious socialist projects that were once funded by state-run oil companies are now struggling. Reports of rising homelessness, shortages in hospitals, and an exodus of public sector staff are commonplace. In addition, President Nicolás Maduro now faces allegations that recent elections were unfairly administered.

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