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Tag Archive for Trade

Russian Oil-Output Cuts to Support OPEC Seen as Unlikely

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Elena Mazneva – November 26, 2014) Each time oil takes a dive, the idea of Russia allying with OPEC to shore up prices gets an airing. It happened in the months after 9/11 and again during the 2008 financial crisis. Now it’s back on the agenda. Russia’s top two

Unnecessary Sacrifice

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Alexander Podrabinek – November 24, 2014) Prominent Russian journalist, writer and human rights activist. His articles appeared in Novaya Gazeta, Ezhenedelny Journal (Ej.Ru), Grani.Ru, et al. He is a regular guest at Ekho Moskvy radio station. Podrabinek is also a well-known Soviet dissident and former political prisoner. In

NEWSLINK: Russia puts losses from sanctions, cheaper oil at up to $140 billion/year

Anton Siluanov file photo

[“Russia puts losses from sanctions, cheaper oil at up to $140 billion/year” – Reuters – Nov. 24, 2014] Reuters reports on Russia’s claims about the extent to which Western sanctions and lower oil prices are impacting the Russian economy. The assertions were made by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov at a Monday press conference. Lower oil

TRANSCRIPT: Text of Ambassador Pyatt’s Panel Comments at the Kyiv Post Tiger Conference WEF Panel

Geoffrey R. Pyatt file photo

(US Embassy Ukraine – November 19, 2014) I think with government servants like Hanna Hopko and Dmytro (Shymkiv), you get a sense of Ukraine’s direction. I think the greatest single risk factor is business as usual. It’s the assumption in some circles that Ukraine can keep doing as it had been doing in the past.

McDonald’s Moscow Restaurant Reopens After 3-Month Shutdown

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leslie Patton, Ilya Khrennikov – November 19, 2014) McDonald’s Corp.’s (MCD) largest restaurant in Russia reopened after local officials shuttered the location for three months, an optimistic sign for a company trying to return to business as usual in the country. The outlet, situated in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, resumed business today,

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

Time for change – G20

G20 Australia 2014

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne/IntelliNews – November 17, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of the western world at the weekend at the G20 summit, the first face-to-face meeting of all the world’s leaders since the Russian annexation of Crimea in March. “At the closing of the evening program of

Putin’s Early Departure From G20 Summit a ‘Mistake’

G20 Australia 2014

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 17, 2014) President Vladimir Putin made an early departure Sunday from the two-day G20 Summit in Australia, after fielding an abundance of criticism from Western leaders over Russia’s allegedly aggressive role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, a move some observers say will inevitably be interpreted

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Low oil prices hurt Russia and the West

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Bryan MacDonald, special to RBTH – November 12, 2014) Bryan MacDonald is an Irish journalist who focusses on Russia and international geopolitics. Are Western and Gulf oil interests ganging up to break Russia? Is the country hopelessly addicted to black gold? Bryan McDonald find the truth is a

Interfax: Former Deputy PM Arbuzov: Ukrainians misled about European integration

Ukraine Map and Flag

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian authorities are adamant to integrate with the European Union at any cost and do not wish to think about possible consequences, according to former Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov. “Western regions have always adhered to European integration because they are attracted to EU member countries culturally

Russian oil could go into self-destruction mode on price fall

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – November 11, 2014) Russia’s oil industry runs the risk of repeating the death spiral of the Soviet oil industry, should prices stay below $90, according to research by brokerage Renaissance Capital. If the oil price were to stay well below $90 for long, Russia’s mostly state-owned oil industry could

Interfax: Moscow says Silk Road route may go via Russia

China Map

BEIJING. Nov 10 (Interfax) – Some sections of the Silk Road route pass through Russia, according to Russian Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriyev. “The route is being chosen, and Russia should hold a very active position in this respect. The Russian president said earlier today that we had plenty of infrastructural capacity for building

Oil falls below $80 but floating ruble seen mitigating pain for Russia

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – November 7, 2014) Oil prices fell below $80 for the first time in four years on November 5 after Saudi Arabia and other Opec members refused to cut production. But economists say despite the large movements in the oil price, the de facto freely floating ruble will mitigate much of the

Russia, Ukraine and EU sign gas deal

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe –  bne.eu – October 31, 2014) Russia, Ukraine and the EU have signed a trilateral gas agreement securing the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine from November. The deal followed a total of 30 hours in talks continuing into the night of October 30, when the sides announced an agreement. Russian Energy Minister

RIA Novosti: EU-Russia Sanctions: No One Wants to Show They are Giving in First

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – The anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union will not be scaled back or rescinded in the immediate future. They’re likely to be in effect until mid-March of next year, an EU diplomatic source told RIA Novosti. But as Nigel Kushner, the CEO of W Legal, an international law

RIA Novosti: Who and What Is Causing the Decline in Oil Prices, and Where Will It Lead?

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti) – With oil hovering around the $80-85 per barrel mark, down nearly 30 percent from a high of over $115 in mid-June, media and expert analysis about the causes and consequences of the price decline has been extensive. We present another, Russia-informed perspective. Saudi Machinations Against US Shale and the

How Slumping Oil Prices Hit Russia’s Sanctions-Struck Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – October 29, 2014) Three screws are tightening on Russia’s oil industry. International banks are calling in multibillion-dollar loans and refusing new ones due to sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine. Western oil companies are barred from handing over advanced drilling technology, also due to sanctions. And, unexpectedly, the

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

NEWSLINK: Russia in grim go-it-alone mood as sanctions bite

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

[“Russia in grim go-it-alone mood as sanctions bite” – BBC – Bridget Kendall – BBC – Sochi, October 27, 2014] BBC News covers Russia’s Valdai Club meeting at Sochi and the impact of Ukraine-related Western sanctions on Russia. Russia’s efforts to reduce … reliance on trade with the West overshadowed a high-profile meeting between … Putin and foreign correspondents …. *

Interfax: Western sanctions only united Russian society – Naryshkin

Russian Duma Building

CHERKESSK. Oct 21 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia have united Russians, said State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin. Speaking at a meeting with members of the Karachay-Cherkessia People’s Assembly on Tuesday, he said that Western partners have been putting pressure on Russia, in particular, by introducing a number of sanctions, including

Putin’s import substitution policy is working

Grain file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 21, 2014) When Russian President Vladimir Putin cut off European Union imports of agricultural products earlier this year, one of the rationales was to give a boost to the badly underdeveloped domestic sector – and it seems to working. September’s retail and investment numbers were down but agricultural

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

Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps.

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps. Date: 15 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 3. Practical aspects of sanctions impact optimization for Russian companies. Violating sanctions or hoping for a world without sanctions is not a sanctions policy. Effective sanctions policies optimize transacting and protect assets. They work at the nexus of regulatory,

Life in Russia with $80 oil

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – October 17, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. From late 2010 until the middle of August this year, the price of Brent crude has traded within a relatively narrow range and averaged close to $110 per barrel. Over the

Interfax: Russians feel no effect from Western sanctions, think Russian economy may benefit – poll

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – October 17, 2014) Most Russians claim they have felt no effect from Western sanctions and expect that the sanctions will be good for the national economy, sociologists have told Interfax. A relative majority (41 percent) of 1,630 respondents polled by Levada Center in 134 populated localities in 46 regions in September said the

Interfax: Russia remains open to free trade zone with EU, Lavrov says

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 14, 2014) There is no alternative to improving relations between Russia and the EU and Russia is ready to discuss the creation of a free trade zone with the EU, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “I believe that no clear-headed person in Europe will argue with the fact that

Experts Divided Over Whether Sanctions Against Russia Are Working

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Voice of America – Andre de Nesnera – October 15, 2014) After several rounds of international sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March and support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, experts are divided over whether they are working. “It depends on what your understanding of the purpose of sanctions

RIA Novosti: Moscow Says Has Every Right to Introduce Sanctions Against US, But Chooses Not to

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated with Flags Behind

VIENNA, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – Amid numerous US sanctions against Russia, Moscow has every right to begin introducing sanctions against the United States, but chooses not to follow this path, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister told RIA Novosti. “This is a reflexive, instincts-based reaction of Washington on what does not fit into the American idea

Most Russians Think Western Sanctions Will Boost Nation’s Economy

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 16, 2014) Despite an economic slump and rising inflation, the majority of Russians believe that Western sanctions and Russia’s retaliatory ban on food imports will actually help the economy, a poll published Thursday showed. Only 25 percent of respondents expect sanctions to damage the Russian economy,

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

Conflict With Russia Reaches Ukrainian Stores

Maidan Square file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Yana Polyanska, Claire Bigg – October 15, 2014) The standoff between Kyiv and Moscow has reached food stores in the Ukrainian capital, where Russian-imported goods are soon to be marked with special labels. The Kyiv city legislature has approved legislation ordering stores to enforce the new measure, which its initiator, lawmaker Ruslan

RIA Novosti: New Retaliatory Steps to Western Sanctions Not on Russia’s Agenda: Industry Minister

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is not going to introduce new measures in response to Western economic sanctions, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov told reporters on Tuesday. “We are not interested in responding [to Western sanctions] with some unreasonable measures. It’s our [Western] colleagues who should be thinking about when

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

Interfax: Russia will protect itself from Western sanctions by long-term measures, says Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – October 14, 2014) Russia will use long-term measures to protect itself from Western sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. “We will certainly adopt all the measures needed to protect ourselves from unlawful restrictions. You are aware of the resources that are being allocated for these purposes. Beyond any doubt, it will

Interfax: EU will review Russia sanctions in late October – head of EU Delegation

EU Map

MOSCOW. Oct 14 (Interfax) – The European Union plans to review its sanctions against Russia at the end of October, the Head of the EU Delegation to Russia, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas, said when answering a question from Interfax on the sidelines of the European Business Association forum in Moscow on Tuesday. The results of such

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

Putin Deals China Winning Hand as Sanctions Power Rival

China Map

(Bloomberg – boomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Evgenia Pismennaya – October 13, 2014) Defying his former enemies in the U.S. and Europe may force Vladimir Putin to aid the ascent of his biggest rival in the east. Isolated over Ukraine, Russia is relying on China for the investment it needs to avert a recession, three people

Russia Spending $6 Billion Not Enough to Stop Ruble Rout on Oil

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov – October 13, 2014) The ruble extended its longest losing streak in more than a year as $6 billion of Russian currency interventions failed to stem the depreciation amid tumbling oil prices. The ruble weakened 0.6 percent versus the dollar-euro basket to 45.3423 by 5:15 p.m. in Moscow, taking

Russia’s Oil Field Actions to Take Edge Off U.S. Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Elena Mazneva – October 10, 2014) U.S. and European Union moves to pressure Russia by threatening its oil output overlook one detail: a mass of conventional resources across Siberia, according to Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi. Russia will distribute more oil and gas deposits found in traditional areas during

Kiev Stores Ordered to Stamp Russian Products With Special Markings

Maidan Square file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 10, 2014) Kiev’s municipal council has ordered stores in the capital to label Russian-imported goods with additional markings to warn consumers they could be supporting the “aggressor” by buying the products, media reports said. According to the ruling approved by the city’s legislature, Russian made-goods will also have to

Interfax: Muscovites say food embargo doesn’t hamper food quality or assortment – poll

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – October 7, 2014) Food quality and assortments have not changed amid Russia’s retaliatory “food embargo” but prices have gone up, Muscovites told the Public Opinion Foundation. Two-thirds (66 percent) of 1,000 Muscovites polled over the phone on September 28 approved of the ban on food imports from a number of Western countries, 21

Interfax: Russia “moving along crisis trajectory” due to trade barriers – experts

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Interfax – October 7, 2014) The risk of the Russian economy moving from stagnation to a full-scale recession “has become slightly higher” in the short run, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 7 October, quoting the latest study carried out by a group of Russian researchers. The research headlined “Comments on the state and

Business New Europe: Ukraine fails to gain from EU free trade over six months

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 8, 2014) A report by Ukraine’s Alfa Bank argues that Ukraine has failed to gain from unilateral free trade with the European Union over the first six months. Exports have indeed grown but this has little to do with the free trade zone, says the report. In April

Gazprom proposes to pay for gas transit with Ukrainian debt

Gas Facility file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – October 6, 2014) Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has proposed to pay for gas transit through Ukraine using debt owed by Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz. According to experts, this decision is advantageous for Kiev, since it will speed up the renewal of

Russian companies’ failures to adopt effective sanctions policies worsen sanctions’ impact

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions, Part 2. Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 2. Russian companies’ failures to adopt effective sanctions policies worsen sanctions’ impact. Russian companies failed to address key aspects of sanctions: 1. Large law firm incentives are against giving operationally useful sanctions advice and 2. Nature and enforcement of sanctions differ

Poroshenko talks reform with foreign investors

Petro Poroschenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 3, 2014) Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko reaffirmed to foreign investors that his goal is for Ukraine to ultimately join the European Union, and for this sweeping reforms are necessary. “This involves a significant number of reforms and solving problems. It’s hardly possible to conduct 62 reforms simultaneously, but

RIA Novosti: US to ‘Roll Back’ Sanctions Against Russia if It Fulfills Minsk Agreement

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated with Flags Behind

WASHINGTON, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – US ready to lift some of the sanctions against Russia if the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk is observed, US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland stated. “When the Minsk agreement is fully implemented, we can and will begin to roll back some sanctions. It is in Russia’s hands

Interfax: Expansion of Russian cooperation in China not end of relations with Europe – Putin

China Map

MOSCOW. Oct 2 (Interfax) – Russia has no intention of ending its relations with its traditional partners, including Europe, and expansion of cooperation with China is a global trend, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Russia is also thinking about expansion of cooperation with China, and it didn’t begin thinking about it yesterday or due to

Interfax: Envoy Chizhov: European Commission starts to weigh Russian concerns over EU-Ukraine free trade

EU Map

BRUSSELS. Sept 30 (Interfax) – Russia is awaiting the European Commission’s proposal to lift its concerns about the enforcement of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told reporters. “The decision of the European Council was anticipated and quite consistent with the agreement reached

15 Global Firms Hit by Russia’s Law Limiting Foreign Ownership of Media

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s law limiting foreign ownership of media in Russia to 20 percent will overturn the country’s media scene. Foreign companies have been at the forefront of developing media in Russia since the early 1990s. They own stakes in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and television stations. Under the

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