Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romania’s stability election
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
The state is back in business
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
Dirty money investigation reviews identified payments worth $1.4bn linked to Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
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The Watcom shopping index that measures foot traffic in Moscow’s biggest malls has started to fall again as new infections of coronavirus (COVID-19) hit new record highs.
Retail sales have taken a beating this year after Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin put the capital, some 15mn residents, on a strict lockdown in May but sales recovered quickly in the summer after the restrictions were lifted.
“Data released on September 20 showed a surprising slowdown in retail sales growth from -1.9% year on year in July (revised from -2.6% y/y) to -2.7% y/y in August. The evidence had pointed to another strong recovery in retail sales, but the breakdown showed that the sector was weighed down by a sharp fall in food sales, from -2.0% y/y to -4.1% y/y, while non-food sales continue to recover, from -1.7% y/y to -1.2%,” VTB Capital (VTBC) said in a note.
The results from October are expected to show an even more dramatic slowdown as consumers start to self-isolate or at least avoid public places to prevent infections.
Sobyanin is trying to avoid another lockdown and said last week that this week would be crucial. Residents of Moscow report that the authorities have cracked down on the existing rules on mask wearing and have been dishing out heavy fines to those ignoring them. Residents over the age of 65 have already been ordered to stay at home.
After falling between May and September the infection rate (R0) took off again in the last week of September and by October 14 had set a new all-time high with 13,754 new cases reported. Russia has had a total of 1.4mn cases to date, out of which 23,491 people have died. A record 286 people have died from the virus in just the last 24 hours.
The Moscow city authorities will launch a new tracking initative staring October 19 where Muscovites will be required to register their mobile phone number before they can enter bars or nightclubs in order to help bring the epidemic under control, Sobyanin announced on October 14.
The resurgence of the virus is bad news for Russia’s economic outlook. Russia has been having a good crisis and the economy has fared a lot better than many analysts had feared. One of the reasons for the better than expected results has been the quick recovery of retail sales that were a shot in the arm for the sick economy.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has improved its forecast for contraction of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 to 4.1% from the previous estimate of 6.6%, the IMF said in the World Economic Outlook report released on October 13.
However, with the second wave of the pandemic now breaking in Russia that consumption boost will likely disappear quickly and the economy slow again.
The big hope is that the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which is currently in Phase 3 testing, will make a difference. Selected workers, including those in healthcare and journalists, have already been inoculated. A mass inoculation is planned for the start of next year.
Russia has approved its second coronavirus vaccine, President Vladimir Putin announced on October 13, as the peptide-based shot developed by a Siberian biotech company readies for large-scale trials.
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