COMMENT: Putin delivers a homely state of the nation speech

Ben Aris in Berlin February 20, 2019

It took Russian President Vladimir Putin an hour to get to the international issues as his state of the nation speech focused almost entirely on how the Kremlin will make people's lives better at home.

COMMENT: Macedonia – A new name, a new opportunity

Elena Sulimova research associate with Dialogue of the Civilisations in Berlin February 18, 2019

After changing its name to the "Republic of North Macedonia” under the Prespa agreement with Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic finally cleared the way for its admission to Nato.

COMMENT: The Warsaw ministerial on the Middle East: A new dimension of solidarity

Maxim Mikheev research associate at the Dialogue of Civilisations in Berlin February 16, 2019

On February 13-14, the “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East” conference was held in Warsaw at the initiative of Poland and the United States, and gathered representatives from 62 countries.

COMMENT: Russia’s manufacturing slump should be temporary

Capital Economics in London February 13, 2019

We suspect that the sharp slowdown in Russia’s manufacturing sector in the second half of 2018 was due to a fall in public spending on military and railway transport. If we’re right, manufacturing should recover in 2019

COMMENT: Russia’s strong current account supports our ST positive view on RUB

at ING in Moscow February 12, 2019

Russia's current account surplus of $11.8bn for January is in line with our expectations. This, combined with a benign external environment, reinforces our constructive short-term view on RUB. But there may be some weakness in 2Q19

COMMENT: Ukraine’s long-awaited religious independence is a matter of national security

Nicholas Kaufmann in Brussels February 5, 2019

Just how Russia will react to losing a significant source of soft power remains unclear, but Moscow has raised eyebrows with a pledge to “protect the interests of the faithful” in Ukraine.

Europe inches forward with Instex plan to circumvent US sanctions on Iran

bne IntelliNews January 31, 2019

Trump officials have scoffed at “paper tiger” but might it be a symbolic step towards asserting European economic sovereignty?

COMMENT: the removal of sanctions on Derirpaska’s companies left the Russian OFZ bond market cold

Rosbank in Moscow January 29, 2019

The removal of three Russian companies – Rusal, En+ and EuroSibEnergo – from the SDN sanctions list is a big deal, but neither the ruble nor the OFZ government treasury bonds rallied

COMMENT: Russia’s drive to sanction proof the economy depresses economic activity

head of Russia research at ING in Amsterdamn January 29, 2019

Both consumer and producer activity weakened in December 2018, confirming our expectations of declining support of local demand to GDP growth at least at the beginning of 2019. This year will be a test to Russia's conservative approach

COMMENT: Russian budget policy may ease in 2019, budget break even price of oil falls to $49

ING’s chief economist for Russia in Amsterdam January 24, 2019

Russia just brought in a record budget surplus partly thanks to increased efficiency in tax collection and a tighter run ship. The break even price of oil for the federal budget has dropped again to $49.

COMMENT: Ukraine muddling through an election cycle year

ICU in Kyiv January 23, 2019

The IMF approval of the new Stand by agreement (SBA) program in December significantly raises Ukraine's ability to repay the $9bn FX debt coming due in 2019. However, the government will need to go to the Eurobond market in April or May

COMMENT: Russia’s corporate foreign debt redemption to be very light in 2019

ING’s chief economist for Russia in Amsterdam January 22, 2019

Despite a tightening in the sanction environment, Russian companies and banks managed to refinance 75% of the $112bn of debt scheduled for redemption in 2018. With a gross redemption of $52bn scheduled for 2019 actual outflow could be as low as $10bn