Russia's Watcom shopping index ends 2019 on five-year high as consumption recovers

Ben Aris in Berlin January 23, 2020

The Watcom shopping index finished 2019 on a high note, putting in its best result in five years after under-performing for almost the whole year.

Russian Aeroflot carrier taking off for stellar 2020

bne IntelliNews January 23, 2020

Analysts are increasingly keen on the stocks of Russian national air carrier Aeroflot after it had a terrible 2019.

Russia’s gross international reserves reach $557.5bn, surpass pre-crisis peak

bne IntelliNews January 22, 2020

Russia’s gross international reserves (GIR) topped $557.5bn on January 10, according to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), surpassing the previous all-time high in 2008.

Slovenia ranks first in emerging Europe in social mobility

bne IntelliNews January 21, 2020

Most economies are failing to provide the conditions in which their citizens can thrive, said the World Economic Forum on releasing its new social mobility index.

East Asian investors ramp up investments in Central and Eastern Europe

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow January 21, 2020

China became the top investor in CEE in 2019, leading fellow East Asian investors that accounted for a growing share of M&A in the region. More deals are expected to follow, says a new report from law firm CMS.

Russia’s RTS spring rally gets boost from new government

Ben Aris in Berlin January 21, 2020

The spring rally that got under way at the start of the new year has received a boost from Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposed constitutional changes and the appointment of a new government, as both the RTS and Moex Russia index hit new highs

ING THINK: Russia tempted to ease fiscal rule and spend more

Dmitry Dolgin chief economist Russia at ING in Moscow January 21, 2020

Russia entered 2020 with a spending backlog of around 1% of GDP, which the new cabinet may now start unwinding. With the budget breakeven oil price below $50/bbl there is some space to increase spending.

ING: Russian balance of payments calls for caution over RUB

Dmitry Dolgin chief economist Russia at ING in Moscow January 20, 2020

Balance of payments for 4Q19 suggests weakness in the current account and tells us that as much as $25bn of net portfolio inflows into local currency state bonds (OFZ) may be needed in 2020 in order to avoid ruble depreciation.

Berlin summit agrees attempt to stabilise Libya truce but oil blockade overshadows progress

bne IntelliNews January 20, 2020

Foreign powers agreed at a summit in Berlin on January 19 to try to solidify the unstable truce in Libya between the internationally recognised government, which is backed by Turkey, and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of warlord Kh

Iran was spooked by US stealth fighter reports when it shot down airliner says Lavrov

bne IntelliNews January 17, 2020

Russian foreign minister says at least six American F-35 aircraft flying in Iranian border area at time Tehran was expecting response to missile strikes on Iraq bases.

MOSCOW BLOG: Is Putin a megalomaniac?

Ben Aris in Berlin January 17, 2020

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin a megalomaniac? The reaction of the commentatori to the huge changes in Russia’s political DNA suggested by the president was kneejerk and entirely predictable.

Head of Russian tax service Mikhail Mishustin appointed prime minister

Ben Aris in Berlin January 15, 2020

The finale of a dramatic news day for Russia was the appointment of the head of the Russian tax office Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister to replace the outgoing Dmitry Medvedev, who resigned along with the whole government a few hours earlier.

UPDATED: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and entire Russian government quit

Ben Aris in Berlin January 15, 2020

In what looks like a coordinated piece of political theatre, Medvedev said he thought it was “appropriate” to leave after President Vladimir Putin announced changes to the constitution that would have given Medvedev a lot more power.

Putin calls for constitutional changes to shift power to Duma during his state of the nation speech

Ben Aris in Berlin January 15, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for changes to the constitution that would shift power to the Duma, the Russian parliament, as well as imposing some new limits to the president’s power, during his annual state of the nation speech.

Erdogan warns he’ll “teach lesson” to Libya warlord Haftar if he resumes fighting Tripoli government

bne IntelliNews January 14, 2020

Turkish president angered that general departed Moscow without signing brokered ceasefire agreement.

A maximum of RUB2-3bn are stolen from the Russian federal budget every year, says Kudrin

bne IntelliNews January 14, 2020

Audit Chamber Director Alexei Kudrin says a maximum of RUB2-3bn ($32.6-48bn) are stolen from the Russian federal budget annually, Vestnik reported on January 14.

A maximum of RUB2bn-3bn stolen from the Russian federal budget every year says Kudrin

bne IntelliNews January 14, 2020

The value of the Russian economy was $1.657 trillion in 2019, making the stealing equivalent to 1.9%-2.9% of GDP.

VIENNEAST COMPASS: Risk outlook 2020 – balancing in limbo

Marcus How of Vienneast in Vienna January 14, 2020

CEESE had a good year in 2019, with the economies in the region buoyed by increasing domestic consumption and capital spending that allowed the region to decouple from western Europe.

Moscow sees record housing built in 2019

bne IntelliNews January 13, 2020

Moscow saw a record of 4.96mn sqm of housing space completed in 2019, up by 40% year-on-year, and highest level of residential construction since the 1965 mass housing blitz carried out by Nikita Khrushchev.

How interconnected are the economies of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan? Inflation and rates outlook for 2020

Ben Aris in Berlin January 12, 2020

In 1991 the Soviet Union broke apart and created 15 independent countries. But over the last three decades, while these countries are politically independent, the economies of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan (KRUB) remain joined at the hip.