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What Is Country Risk Analysis?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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Country risk analysis is a type of evaluation used to determine the degree of risk associated with doing business within a given nation, or purchasing securities that are native to a given country. In order to conduct this type of risk analysis, it is important to consider a wide range of factors, including the general economic climate within that country, laws and regulations related to industry, and the current perception of that nation in the world market. The idea behind assessing country risk is to make sure that the potential for returns is sufficient to offset any risk factors that may be present.

A number of different risks are considered as part of an overall country risk analysis. Many of these factors focus on situations relevant to the general economy of the country and the trade laws and regulations that are in force. This will mean understanding the costs of doing business with that country, especially in terms of taxes, tariffs, and other obligations to the government that may apply. At the same time, the rate of exchange as it relates to the currency of the nation will also be a consideration that foreign investors will want to evaluate very closely.

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Political factors are also important to the task of conducting a country risk analysis. The general stability of the government is very important, as it may affect the ability of investors to have control over their assets. Ideally, there will be relatively little potential for political unrest that leads to coups or other major turnovers that could have negative impact on business policies. Typically, countries that experience a significant amount of political unrest are less attractive to more conservative investors who would consider the risks to be greater than the potential returns.

Location is also a big consideration of country risk analysis. Here, the focus is not only on where the country under consideration is located, but which nations surround that country. This is important, since the ability to move products in and out of the nation may be impacted by the laws and regulations of those surrounding countries, effectively making the effort hard to justify. Political unrest or economic issues in nearby countries may also have an adverse effect on the country under consideration, dampening the appeal to investors.

The exact scope of considerations that go into a country risk analysis will vary somewhat, depending on the circumstances of that nation and the type of activity that an investor has in mind. In some cases, concerns about economic stability will be very low while the location causes some concerns. At other times the economy may currently be flourishing while concerns about the upcoming political climate may dampen the enthusiasm of investors. In each attempt at country risk analysis, it is important to proceed slowly and allow time to investigate all relevant factors before making a final decision. Doing so will help investors to make informed decisions that protect their interests and increase the chances for earning an equitable level of return.

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