Tensions between Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia rise over closed borders

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 26, 2020

After declaring itself coronavirus free, Montenegro plans to open its borders — but not to neighbours Serbia or Bosnia, which claim the decision is linked to the dispute between the government in Podgorica and the Serbian Orthodox church.

Belarus president seeks government reshuffle before August election

bne IntelliNews May 26, 2020

Belarusian President Lukashenko is seeking to reshuffle his government on eve of August election

Russian policy veteran Kudrin urges seizing of the COVID moment for visionary reform

bne IntelliNews May 26, 2020

The head of Russia's Audit Chamber Alexei Kudrin has published an oped laying out his vision of the state anti-crisis policy amid the coronavirus epidemic.

No intervention from US as Iranian fuel relief tanker docks in Venezuela

bne IntelIiNews May 25, 2020

Venezuelan state TV airs pictures of officials celebrating arrival. Four more tankers still en route. Trump official slams “Maduro's expensive deals with another pariah state".

Montenegro declares itself a coronavirus-free state

bne IntelliNews May 25, 2020

Just 324 cases reported in tiny Balkan state during pandemic, as Podgorica imposed strict preemptive lockdown. New economic support package now planned.

Armenia ‘has just 26 intensive care beds left for COVID-19 patients'

bne IntelIiNews May 25, 2020

Officials ended lockdown as poor country’s fears of economic damage mounted but they now have a second surge of infections on their hands.

Moldovan PM alienates closest EU ally with Facebook corruption claim

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 25, 2020

Ion Chicu writes on social media platform that Romania is Europe's most corrupt country and slams Bucharest’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic at a moment when Chisinau already risks losing EU funding.

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.