2. There were signs of escalation in the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar this week. Media reported on two alleged Saudi-UAE plots, one to destabilize Qatar's economy and another to mobilize tribes hostile to the Qatari royal family. Moreover, we detected an uptick in Qatar security sector volatility in the wake of the Saudi power play against Lebanon — a sign of rising concern that the Kingdom could increase political or even military pressure on Qatar.
3. Online interest rose in the Venezuelan Crisis this week after the government missed payments on its sovereign debt and state oil company PDVSA bonds. Caracas is in ongoing talks with its international creditors to restructure as much as $60 billion in debt
4. In another debt saga, Greece launched a 30 billion euro debt swap on Wednesday, a step to increase liquidity ahead of a potential exit from its current bailout program next year. Signs of potential trouble remain, however. Last week, after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras updated lawmakers on creditor review of structural reforms necessary for long-term debt relief, our Greece economy signal spiked, driven upward by digital sources related to the debt crisis and tax evasion. Tax evasion is a notorious problem in Greece; online attention to the issue may indicate concerns are mounting over implementing necessary reforms in the country's taxation. Further, our backtest engine shows Greek CDS tends to rise in the month following spikes in the Greece economy sector signal.
5. As the Kingdom continues to put pressure on Hezbollah, our signals that anticipate Iranian escalations in the Tehran-Riyadh cold war hit an all-time high. In other words, our models are as confident as they have ever been there will be an escalation within the next 30 days.
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