Tag Archives: Finance

Over 70% of Russians feel economic crisis effects – poll

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – February 24, 2015) The share of Russians acknowledging the ongoing economic crisis has grown to 71 percent, from 62 percent in January, the Public Opinion Foundation said. Some 14 percent of 1,500 respondents polled in 100 populated localities in 43 regions on February 14-15 claim they do not see any signs of a crisis (down from 20 percent […]

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Russia Dumps $22 Billion in U.S. Bonds to Slow Economy’s Slide

Portion U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – February 20, 2015) Moscow sold a total of $45 billion of U.S. treasury bonds in 2014 as relations with Western governments reached a post-Soviet nadir over the Ukraine crisis. Russia jettisoned $22 billion worth of U.S. treasury bonds in December as the Kremlin scrambled for cash to battle a plunging ruble and […]

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Novak: inability to borrow worse than low oil prices

oil-well-250-blm

MOSCOW. Feb 16 (Interfax) – The lack of lending sources is having a worse effect on the Russian oil industry than the low price of oil, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with Interfax. “The main issue is the lack of lending resources, sources of financing, not the price of oil. Accordingly, due to the lack of financing, […]

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Would a Ukraine Peace Deal in Minsk Save the Russian Economy?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – February 12, 2015) U.S. President Barack Obama has claimed the Kremlin’s role in the Ukraine crisis brought the Russian economy to its knees. So, if a peace accord is reached in Minsk on Wednesday will it reboot the Russian economy? Hopes are high that a gathering of Russian, French, German and Ukrainian […]

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Russia opposed to restructuring of Ukraine’s debt – finance minister

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Istanbul, February 10, 2015) Ukraine has asked Russia to agree to a restructuring of its debt, but it is in the Russian Federation’s interest to recover the currency assets it invested in Ukrainian eurobonds, and Russia is not willing for the repayment of these debts to be deferred or delayed, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has told journalists. […]

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NEWSWATCH: Morgan Stanley thinks Russia’s doomed

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

[“Morgan Stanley thinks Russia’s doomed” – BusinessInsider.com – Elena Holodny – January 30, 2015] Business Insider reports on Morgan Stanley’s pessimistic Russian economic forecast: Morgan Stanley has a short message for Russia: you’re doomed. This past week hasn’t been easy for the Russian economy: … Thursday … EU foreign ministers decided to extend … sanctions on Russia by six months. Additionally, the Central Bank slashed […]

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S&P downgrades Russia to junk

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – January 27, 2015) Standard & Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk status late on January 26, a move which precipitated the rouble’s fall by more than 6%. S&P lowered Russia’s credit rating to BB+, one step below investment grade, as renewed fighting in Ukraine raised the threat of tighter Western […]

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Ten New Laws That Will Affect Your Life in Russia in 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 21, 2015) New year, new you: An expression that has taken on a special meaning for those living in Russia, where a plethora of new laws – many with a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens and residents – entered into effect on Jan. 1. The Moscow Times has […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Is a banking crisis looming in Russia?

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – January 20, 2015) The Russian government will supply banks with nearly $15 billion to help stave off a possible financial crisis. Only banks that are willing to increase credit in the production sector of the economy will be eligible to receive the money. In such a way the government […]

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China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion

China Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – December 22, 2014) Two Chinese ministers offered support for Russia as President Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up the ruble without depleting foreign-exchange reserves. China will provide help if needed and is confident Russia can overcome its economic difficulties, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was cited as saying in Bangkok in a Dec. 20 report by Hong […]

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The rouble crisis in Siberia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Fofanova – December 17, 2014) Anna Fofanova is a Tomsk-based editor and journalist. As the rouble collapses, residents of Tomsk have long memories – from Black Tuesday 1994 to Black Tuesday 2014. Tomsk is a provincial city in the best sense of the word. Indeed, as the largest centre for education and science on the other side […]

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Russians in Biggest Cities Feel the Most Pain from Crisis, Gudkov Says

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 22, 2014) Russians living in the largest cities, the people who benefited the most from the oil-driven boom of the last decade, now feel the greatest concern about the impact on their lives of the economic crisis because they are better informed than those in smaller ones and rural areas, a […]

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Does anybody in Russia care about the ruble?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Bovt, special to RBTH – December 19, 2014) After becoming two times poorer in real terms since the beginning of the year due to the collapse of the ruble, Russians could well have taken to the streets to protest against the government’s economic policies. Why hasn’t that happened? And why is mass […]

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The oil price is all that matters regarding Russia

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – December 19, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. The key takeaway concerning the economy and the ruble from President Valdimir Putin’s press conference on December 18 is that the Kremlin does not have any strategy or plan to try and pull out of this […]

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How does the 2014 ruble crisis compare with the 1998 vintage?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 17, 2014) The ruble’s crash on December 15 from RUB53 to nearly RUB80 vs the dollar has caused many commentators to compare this crisis to Russia’s financial collapse in 1998. Is Russia really going into a full-scale meltdown for the fourth time in two decades? Crashing oil prices […]

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Russian Media Downplay Extent of Ruble Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos, Ivan Nechepurenko – December 17, 2014) While the ruble pinballed erratically between 58 and 80 per U.S. dollar on Tuesday, making headlines around the world, Russia’s state-run media have attempted to take a soft and conciliatory stance on the home currency’s woes. A news bullet by state-owned Channel One aired at 6 p.m. […]

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What awaits Russia’s economy in 2015 after ruble collapse?

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Konstantin Korishchenko, special to RBTH – December 17, 2014) Konstantin Korishchenko is head of the stock market and financial engineering department at the Finance and Banking Faculty of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and a former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. As the Russian ruble plunges […]

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Medvedev says ruble ‘undervalued’ as slide slows

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 17, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the ruble undervalued at a meeting on December 17 with the top officials of the government, the central bank and heads of Russia’s largest exporters. He said that regulation of the currency market would remain based on market principles, but the presence […]

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Picking through the ruble

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 16, 2014) The Russian ruble crashed again on December 15, in the biggest fall since the last big crisis in 1998. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) belatedly stepped in with a huge interest rate hike overnight, but it has been roundly criticised for being “behind […]

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Fears of Capital Controls Grow as Russia’s Economy Goes Haywire

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 17, 2014) The possible implementation of capital controls in Russia came a step closer Tuesday as the authorities appeared to be running out of options to stem the country’s dramatic currency collapse. The ruble defied an emergency interest rate rise of 6.5 percentage points announced overnight, falling 20 percent to above […]

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Yavlinsky calls for returning Kudrin to government

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – December 13, 2014) Grigory Yavlinsky, a founder of the Yabloko party, calls for replacing the Russian government and appointing former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a new prime minister or first deputy prime minister with a special mandate. “We believe the government needs to be changed – whether it’s going to be the entire government or its economic block […]

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Business New Europe: “Better late than never?”

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 12, 2014) There is an obvious solution to help deal with Russia’s economic slowdown that is being exacerbated by the tumbling oil prices: do those reforms that should have been done ten years ago. It’s kind of obvious. But also just as obvious is that a […]

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Business New Europe: Flippant claim that ‘Russia is Spain’ is wide of the mark

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Business New Europe – Henry Kirby in London – December 11, 2014) After months of downward pressure, the ruble went into near free-fall during the first week of December. From 36 to the dollar in early August, the Russian currency fell rapidly from 47 to 53 to the greenback in just a few days, amid rumours (later discredited) that the […]

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Business New Europe: Russia is running out of money – not…

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 11, 2014) There has been a spate of articles recently suggesting that Russia is on the edge of a complete economic meltdown. There was an article in the UK’s The Daily Telegraph suggesting that its economy has lost a third of its value in dollar terms […]

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Putin offers Russian business ‘full’ offshore capital amnesty

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 4, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a complete capital amnesty, allowing businesses to repatriate offshore funds without fear of the consequences. “We need to finally turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and country,” Putin told the federal assembly in his annual address. “If someone […]

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Crash Course: The Ruble’s Volatile Two Decades

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – December 02, 2014) The Russian ruble’s sharp plunge this week, which saw it fall below 50 to the U.S. dollar, has revived the specter of the kind of currency crisis that Russians have suffered through repeatedly over the past 25 years. The ruble on December 1 took its steepest dive in intraday trading […]

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Interfax: Russian Investigations Committee drafts measures to slow down capital flight

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – November 24, 2014) Russian Investigations Committee has prepared its own proposals allowing to “considerably slow down” the capital flight from Russia, the committee’s head Aleksandr Bastrykin has said, as reported by privately-owned news agency Interfax on 24 November. “We are so wealthy and powerful that we will be able to cope with problems caused by sanctions that are […]

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Ukraine Shrugged Off as Russia ETF Swells to Record

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – November 24, 2014) As oil fell into a bear market, the ruble traded at record lows and NATO said President Vladimir Putin is stoking conflict in Ukraine, bets on the biggest exchange-traded fund tracking Russian stocks surged to a record. Demand for shares in the Market Vectors Russia ETF has held up as […]

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Sanctions Affect Half Of Russia’s Banking Sector, Report Says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 19, 2014) Russian banks are the most vulnerable among the world’s large emerging market economies due to Western sanctions and near zero levels of economic growth, a Standard & Poor’s report released Wednesday said. Sanctions directly affect more than 50 percent of Russia’s banking sector, which is dominated by state financial institutions, the report […]

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Interfax: Russian central banker says economy can withstand lower oil price, sanctions

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Interfax – November 18, 2014) The head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, has said that the economy would retain stability if things go less than well, i.e. if oil prices averages 80 dollars per barrel and sanctions continue until the end of 2017. Speaking in the State Duma on 18 November, she added that Russia’s financial system was […]

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Russia moves to free-sinking currency

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – November 19, 2014) After controlling the ruble-dollar exchange rate for more than two decades to ease the pain of the transition to a free market, on October 9 the Russia’s central bank finally let the ruble go. The Russian currency is now a fully floating currency, but it is […]

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Early shift to free-floating policy gives shelter to battered Russian ruble

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – November 17, 2014) Since the beginning of 2014 the value of the ruble has fallen by about 50 percent against the dollar and the euro, a slide most analysts attribute to low oil prices. In the end, Russia’s Central Bank decided to bring forward plans to let the ruble […]

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Russian Capital Flight May Hit $130 Billion, Finance Minister Says

Anton Siluanov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 18, 2014) Capital outflow from Russia could grow to $130 billion this year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Monday, news agency Bloomberg reported. The prediction brings the government’s expectations closer to that of the Russian Central Bank, which said on Nov. 10 that capital outflow could hit $128 billion in 2014. Investors have been […]

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Profile: Elvira Nabiullina, Woman at Center of Russia’s Ruble Collapse

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 15, 2014) Reaching the climax of a personal attack on Russia’s Central Bank chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina in a debate in the State Duma early last week, Communist deputy Vyacheslav Tetyokin did not hold back. Nabiullina, he said, was “the most expensive woman in the history of our country.” Tetyokin was incensed […]

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Ruble Rout Intensifies as Russia’s Central Bank Limits Interventions

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – November 5, 2014) The Russian ruble plunged when trading opened Wednesday as the Central Bank announced it would cap the amount of foreign reserves it spends to defend the currency. The ruble fell to historic lows, diving to 44.98 against the dollar and passing the 56 euro mark shortly after 10 a.m. […]

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In Ukraine hope springs eternal

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – CONFERENCE CALL: Ben Aris in Kyiv – October 31, 2014) Two days after a crucial parliamentary election that put the seal on Ukraine’s latest political transformation, SP Advisors, a leading local investment firm, held its first investment conference and invited international investors to Kyiv to debate the Eastern European country’s future. The mood at […]

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Safe-Deposit Box Craze Lays Bare Ukraine Woes After Vote

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – October 29, 2014) Wary of banks and alarmed by armed conflict around her parents’ town, Daria Demianenko joined Ukraine’s rush to an old-fashioned way of squirreling away cash. More commonly known as a home for fancy jewels and ill-gotten gains, safe-deposit boxes are swallowing a growing chunk of regular savings in Ukraine. For […]

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Blowing $24 Billion on Ruble Spurs Free-Float Bet

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov – October 29, 2014) The ruble’s persistent weakening in the face of $24 billion of interventions is stoking speculation the Bank of Russia will accelerate its switch to a free float. The currency fell to a record for a sixth day today, losing 0.6 percent to 42.7410 per dollar and bringing this month’s drop […]

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Russia Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures to adopt effective sanctions policies […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Limits Foreign Capital’s Participation in Russian Media: Government

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law reducing the possible share of foreign stockholders in the Russian media to 20 percent, says the corresponding document published on the Russian government’s official legal information web portal Wednesday. “Unless otherwise stipulated by an international treaty … a Russian legal entity with a foreign participation share […]

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Russians Lose Faith in Banks as Ruble Falls and Sanctions Bite

VTB Bank Facade file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 16, 2014) Consumer confidence in Russia’s financial system is falling, with half of Russians saying they don’t trust banks and are using such services less, in a troubling signal for a system under pressure from Western sanctions and more sensitive than ever to outflows of depositors, a recent study showed. In […]

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Russia Can’t Be Blackmailed Over Ukraine, Putin Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – October 15, 2014) It’s futile for the U.S. and its allies to “blackmail” Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview. Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a “hostile” approach in naming Russia as a threat to […]

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Gref: Central Bank ruble policy ‘optimal’

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia’s ruble exchange rate policy is “optimal,” Sberbank of Russia (MOEX: SBER) President and CEO German Gref said. “The policy that the Central Bank is pursuing is, in my view, optimal from the standpoint of managing the exchange rate. The economy is self-tuning, because the processes underway are very complex. Over […]

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Fears of a Russian credit crunch greatly exaggerated, say analysts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) On paper, Russian companies have huge foreign debts, and no way of refinancing them because sanctions effectively close Western capital markets to Russian borrowers. But with much of Russian corporate foreign debt in fact hidden equity investments from offshore zones, the figures seem much worse than they are. International headlines are […]

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Russia signs raft of deals with China

China Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) Russia and China signed a raft of 40 agreements encompassing trade, energy, finance and technology, following a meeting between Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, on October 14 in Moscow. The agreements demonstrate how Russia is looking for other options, after sanctions imposed on Russia in […]

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Russia Can’t Escape Historical Retrospection in Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Blooomberg – bloomberg.com – Ye Xie and Elena Popina – October 9, 2014) As Russia starts burning through foreign reserves in a bid to defend the ruble, flashbacks to the country’s 1998 devaluation and default are inevitable. While the government is in a much stronger position today to fend off the crisis than it was then — foreign reserves are […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Needs to Create Domestic Credit System to Survive Sanctions: Presidential Aide

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

MOSCOW, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russia needs to establish a system of domestic credit and improve the efficiency of public administration, so that the economy could successfully develop amid Western sanctions, Russian Presidential Aide Sergei Glazyev said Tuesday. “If we want to survive the war that is being waged against Russia, we need to create an internal system of […]

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Moscow Times: Who Is Benefiting From West-Russia Sanctions War?

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 6, 2014) The recent Western sanctions, the harshest in decades, are meant to stun Russia’s economy. But one person’s loss is another one’s gain – and this is also true for companies and countries in a globalized world. Following the U.S.’s example, the European Union last week imposed broad economic sanctions […]

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Ukraine update

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Tim Ash, Standard Bank – July 24, 2014) What is now clear on the ground is that Ukraine is at war, and with significant casualties suffered now by both sides on a daily basis – tens of lives lost almost daily now. The conflict is also causing very significant disruption and costs to the […]

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Russia’s capital flight hits 75 billion dollars

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Moscow, July 9, 2014) According to an assessment by the Central Bank of Russia, the net export of capital by banks and companies from the Russian Federation in the first half of 2014 was 74.6bn dollars. That is 120 per cent higher than in the first half of 2013 (33.7bn dollars), the Bank of Russia [Central Bank] has […]

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