By Mike Collier of bne in Riga
With the Russian military heading westwards in a move similar to the ”invited annexation” that saw Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lose their independence in 1940, it’s hardly surprising the Baltic states are watching events in Ukraine’s Crimea warily. Upcoming elections and a controversial parade to honour soldiers who fought alongside the Nazis will create plenty of flashpoints in these countries with large ethnic Russian minorities. Continue reading »
By Ben Aris of bne in Moscow
Get used to it: from now on you will have to order ‘Chicken Kyiv’ rather than ‘Kiev’ after the US slapped sanctions on Russia.
Ukrainians have long been irked by the international media’s insistence on spelling the name of their capital ‘Kiev’, which is a transliteration from the Cyrillic of the Russian spelling of the name. Continue reading »
Tom Elliott, international investment strategist at deVere Group.
In recent trading sessions, global stock markets have recovered much of the ground lost in the immediate aftermath of the Russian occupation of Crimea. Earlier this week the S&P 500 reached a new all-time high, as investors returned their attention to the improving data coming from the US economy.
So that’s that, then? A country’s sovereignty is compromised, the world decides to sit on its hands and shortly afterward life goes back to normal. Unfortunately for Ukraine, yes. Continue reading »
The Ukraine crisis has entered its “wait and see” phase. Does this mark the beginning of a peaceful resolution or is it the calm before the storm? Have investors embarked on a relief rally, or is the dead cat bouncing?
There were opinions to match all tastes from market analysts on Wednesday. Here is a beyondbrics summary of those views, from “Crisis? What crisis?” to “Cold War 2.0″. Continue reading »
By Tamás Pesuth, Head of Economic Research, Nézőpont Institute
“Hungary is a small country, but it looms larger on investors’ screens.” So the Financial Times wrote at the beginning of February this year, while calling the governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) “a maverick.”
As György Matolcsy marked his first year in office today, a more rounded appraisal of his work is required. The FT article looked mainly at the forint exchange rate and the low base rate in reaching its “maverick” judgement. Continue reading »
By Christopher Granville, Director of Russia Research, Trusted Sources
For investors exposed to Russia and the wider market fall-out from Russia’s military move in the Crimea, it may be helpful to recall the lessons of a previous shock that threatened to undermine the investment case for Russia. The analogy I have in mind is the Yukos affair.
Then, as now, President Putin perceived a paramount interest that he decided to pursue regardless of the high costs to business and financial market confidence. Continue reading »
In a news briefing aired Tuesday on Russia Today, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, retaliated against Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky who on Monday described him as a “schizophrenic of short stature” for bringing Russia and Ukraine to the verge of war.
Putin said: “What we see in the east [of Ukraine] now is that billionaires are being installed as governors. We understand that these people gained their fortunes through loans and shares. One of these oligarchs cheated Roman Abramovich. Abramovich lent him several billion dollars, and he just pocketed the money. He is now governor of Dnepopetrovsk.” Continue reading »
There has been a relief rally in Ukrainian assets with the uneventful passing of Tuesday morning’s rumoured deadline for Ukrainian troops in Crimea to surrender to the peninsula’s Russian occupiers. Vladimir Putin appeared to pull further back from armed conflict in a mid-day press conference, so the rally may have more legs.
But yields are still at the brink.
Source: Thomson Reuters
Continue reading »
Nothing like a foreign policy crisis to concentrate the mind.
Poland’s potential adoption of the euro, which had been pushed off to the end of the decade under political, economic and constitutional difficulties and lacklustre public support, has been given a jolt of energy by Russia’s creeping invasion of Crimea. Continue reading »
Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, who this weekend agreed to become governor of his native Dnipropetrovsk region as the country braces for a broader Russian invasion into eastern Ukraine, described Russia’s president Vladimir Putin as a “schizophrenic of short stature” for putting Russia and Ukraine on the verge of war.
“I don’t understand how Ukrainians and Russians can fight,” he said in an online video. Continue reading »
Just as things were starting to look up for many economies in central and eastern Europe, along comes the crisis in Ukraine. How severe will the impact be?
The answer, of course, depends on how the crisis develops. Says Simon Quijano-Evans of Commerzbank: “If we’re talking about the secession of any region of Ukraine, then we have to go on to the next step, which is about relations breaking down not between Russia and CEE but between Russia and the EU. The only way the EU and the US can react is through economic and financial sanctions.” Continue reading »
As beyondbrics foresaw last week, Russia has turned to Gazprom, its state-controlled natural gas monopoly, to put pressure on the new Ukrainian government. Over the weekend, Gazprom warned that Kiev may lose the discount agreed by ousted president Viktor Yanukovich from the second quarter of 2014. The big question now is, should the European Union worry that an escalating gas row between Russian and Ukraine would lead to cuts in Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe? Continue reading »
Slovenia finished February on a surprise high, with news that the economy in the fourth quarter of 2013 expanded by 2.1 per cent year-on-year – the first three months of growth after eight consecutive quarterly declines.
The late upturn, however, proved insufficient to pull the year’s performance into positive territory. Grim data earlier in the year – the first three months was 4.6 per cent down on 2012 – meant the economy in 2013 contracted by 1.1 per cent. Still, that’s a whole lot better than the 2.5 per cent slump in output for 2012. Continue reading »
By Ulrich Schmid of the University of St Gallen
Is Ukraine breaking apart? There is a clichéd view of a Europe-oriented west Ukraine and a pro-Russian east Ukraine. However, this view is too simple. Donetsk has a direct rivalry with neighbouring Dnepropetrovsk, while the “enemy” Lviv is far away. The eastern Ukrainians suffered alongside western Ukrainians from the import restrictions imposed on Ukraine by Russia last November. This put a damper on any enthusiasm for Russia in the east of the country. Continue reading »
Source: Thomson Reuters
Ukraine’s central bank is doing what it can to protect the hryvnia. Continue reading »