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Sergio Massa attends an event after the 2021 midterm elections in Buenos Aires.

REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

What We’re Watching: Argentina’s super minister, China-Zambia debt deal, Ukrainian grain trader dead

Can a "super minister" save Argentina?

Argentina's embattled President Alberto Fernández has appointed Sergio Massa, the influential leader of the lower house of parliament, to head a new "super ministry" that Fernández hopes will help steer the country out of a deep economic crisis. Massa, Argentina's third economic minister in less than a month, will oversee economic, manufacturing, and agricultural policy. He has his work cut out for him owing to soaring inflation, farmers demanding tax relief, and a recent run on the peso. Massa also needs to convince the IMF that Argentina will comply with the terms of its $44 billion debt restructuring deal. There's a political angle too: he's (arguably) the strongest candidate the left-wing Peronista coalition has to run for president next year if the unpopular Fernández drops his bid for a second term. Massa is one of very few politicians who can navigate the ongoing rift between the president and his powerful VP, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. If the new "super minister" does a good job, he'll be in pole position for a 2023 presidential run; if he fails, the ruling Peronistas will face long odds to stay in power.

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A brass plaque of the State Bank of Pakistan in Karachi.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Even if Pakistan defaults, its larger challenges remain

Pakistan is facing default on its sovereign debt.

After Sri Lanka, it’s the latest emerging economy to falter in the wake of COVID, the war in Ukraine, and skyrocketing inflation. But the stakes are higher: Pakistan borders China, India, Iran, and Afghanistan, and it sits at the crossroads of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. It’s embroiled in a battle against rising terrorism, and it has nuclear weapons.

But the world’s fifth-most populous country — where 220 million live under a political system plagued by corruption and extremism ± isn’t just broke. Polarized and isolated, it’s going through a period of instability not seen since its civil war in 1971, when it lost a majority of its population as East Pakistan seceded to become Bangladesh.

A serious rethink is needed about the way Pakistan manages itself and its diplomacy. So, are its rulers making the right adjustments?

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Zelensky addresses MPs in the British Parliament's House of Commons.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

Zelensky takes center stage

On Wednesday, we’re tracking two developments that could shift the Russia-Ukraine story.

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China Evergrande Group logo displayed on a phone screen and Chinese flag displayed in the background are seen in this illustration photo.

REUTERS/Jakub Porzycki

Can Xi save China from Evergrande?

Evergrande, China's second-largest property developer, got on Monday its best news in months: someone's willing to buy part of its hugely indebted real estate empire, probably for fen on the yuan. But the company's still in deep trouble: it owes a whopping $305 billion — about 2 percent of China's GDP.

Chinese authorities have spent weeks bracing for Evergrande's looming default like for a slow-moving train collision. With 1,300 projects across 280 cities across China, Evergrande — a gargantuan corporation that also runs theme parks, makes electric vehicles, and owns a soccer team — is a heavyweight in China's once-booming real estate industry, which has driven much of the country's economic growth over the past decade by relying on heavy borrowing.

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