Russia’s leading petrochemical company Sibur raises $208mn with bonds issue at record low yields

bne IntelliNews May 22, 2020

Russia’s leading petrochemical producer Sibur Holding successfully closed the order book for its BO-01 and BO-02 exchange-traded bond issues, worth RUB10bn ($139mn) and RUB5bn ($69mn) respectively, the company announced on May 21.

Chechen strongman Kadyrov admitted to hospital with coronavirus

bne IntelliNews May 22, 2020

The leader of Chechnya and one of the most controversial figures in Russian politics, Ramzan Kadyrov, has reportedly been admitted to “one of the best hospitals in Moscow” after he was believed to be infected with the coronavirus

Ukraine secures agreement with IMF over new $5bn, 18-month programme

bne IntelliNews May 22, 2020

The International Monetary Fund signed off on a new staff level 18-month Stand-by Arrangement with Ukraine on the same day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed the new anti-Kolomoisky banking bill into law.

Turkey ‘treads carefully’ as benchmark rate is cut by 50bp

bne IntelIiNews May 21, 2020

Easing comes on back of some stabilisation in the embattled lira but markets remain concerned by country’s lack of FX reserves.

US ire on horizon as Venezuelan navy told to escort Iranian tankers bringing fuel relief

bne IntelIiNews May 21, 2020

White House officials loathe to see one Trump-sanctioned nation coming to the assistance of another, especially in a presidential election year.

Russia's finance ministry places $2.4bn of OFZ bonds, 2020 sales tip over $14bn

bne IntelliNews May 21, 2020

Russia's finance ministry continued to place record-high volumes of OFZ bonds on weekly auctions, selling RUB170bn ($2.4bn) worth of federal bonds in three issues at a total demand of over RUB230bn ($3.2bn) this week.

Gulf ally Qatar expands swap line to help Turkey defend lira

Akin Nazli in Belgrade May 20, 2020

Currency falls slightly after news. Markets want to see more. Finance minister remarks “Imports will not be easy” as Ankara moves to boost domestic production. Turkish officials, meanwhile, said to be concerned by possible new rush for dollars.

PS752 Tragedy - Ukrainian aviation investigation head suggests passengers were out of their seats

bne IntelIiNews May 20, 2020

Official releases more inside information on shooting down of passenger plane as Kyiv and Tehran fail to resolve differences on direction of probe.

Borealis pulls out of $6.8bn plan to build petrochemical plant in Kazakhstan

Kanat Shaku in Almaty May 20, 2020

Austrian company cites COVID-19 uncertainties. Move is a blow to Kazakh plans to use vast gas reserves to make more value-added products. Nur-Sultan already struggling with oil price crisis.

Russia’s GDP shrinks by 20% in April, but government maintains a triple surplus

bne IntelliNews May 20, 2020

Russia’s economy shrank by a fifth in size in real terms in April, according to preliminary data released by the Ministry of Finance, but at the same time the government has managed to maintain a triple surplus in its external account.

Fitch cuts outlook on three Turkish banks citing Ankara’s weaker FX reserves

bne IntelIiNews May 19, 2020

Rating agency also downgrades Halkbank from ‘B’ to ‘B+’. Ability of sovereign to support lenders in event of need has declined, it says.

Gazprom starts designing $20bn gas pipeline to China

bne IntelliNews May 19, 2020

Russia’s Gazprom is pushing ahead with plans to build a second major gas pipeline to China.

Moldova’s head prosecutor accuses Plahotniuc in u-turn on $1bn bank frauds

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 19, 2020

Moldova to issue extradition request for oligarch who was the country’s most powerful politician until his party was ousted from office last June.

Tehran warns US off “piracy” as Iranian fuel tankers head for Venezuela

bne IntelIiNews May 18, 2020

Foreign minister says Washington must “give up bullying on the world stage”. Four of five vessels already in the Atlantic.

Russian population is moving west

bne IntelliNews May 18, 2020

Three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union Russia’s population is starting to undo the legacy of central planning and is moving west.

Poland’s public radio cancels pop chart list after song critical of Kaczynski flies to number one

bne IntelliNews May 18, 2020

Like other public media in Poland, Programme Three has been stacked with PiS loyalists, tilting the radio station’s editorial policy heavily to the right.

Bubble jitters grow as data shows €3bn invested in Tehran Stock Exchange in two months

bne IntelIiNews May 17, 2020

Top index TEDPIX retreats from million mark. Economist forecasts rise to 1.5mn points before 12% fall.

Poland’s Civic Platform confirms Warsaw mayor Trzaskowski as new presidential hopeful

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw May 17, 2020

Poland’s largest opposition party hopes Trzaskowski will party’s presidential bid after the previous pick, Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, struggled with the challenge of campaigning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Outrage in Tirana over dawn demolition of historic theatre

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje May 17, 2020

Actors and NGOs campaigned for years to prevent the old National Theatre being torn down. President Ilir Meta called the demolition an "unpardonable crime".

Viktor Orban sets end of May deadline to return special powers to parliament

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 17, 2020

The legislation allowing the government to rule by decrees during the pandemic had no sunset clause, raising fears that Hungary’s illiberal leader would abuse his new powers.