HSBC 'considering Turkey, Armenia exits'

bne IntelliNews January 29, 2020

Sources quoted as saying bank has concerns about Turkey’s volatile currency and economic outlook. Market already braced for Unicredit to depart Istanbul.

Conflict between Bulgaria’s president, chief prosecutor escalates after incriminating wiretaps released

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 29, 2020

Release of wiretaps that prosecutors claim indicate criminal activity is seen as an attempt to silence President Radev, a staunch critic of both Bulgaria’s new chief prosecutor and Boyko Borrisov’s government.

Erdogan blasts Abu Dhabi’s ‘bankrolling of Russian mercenaries in Libya’ and latest Kremlin role in Syria

bne IntelliNews January 29, 2020

Turkish leader hits out at “desert lord” Haftar. Says he’s losing patience with military assault in Syrian region of Idlib.

Violent death in Armenia of ex-security service chief “throws back into public view wide fissures, deep animosities” in country’s politics

bne IntelliNews January 29, 2020

Former government officials struggle to reinvent themselves in the post-revolution country and find themselves under pressure by investigators. In another incident, a former police commander last September apparently killed himself.

Horizon Capital returns as shareholder in major Romanian-Moldovan winemaker Purcari

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest January 29, 2020

Bucharest-listed Purcari Wineries aims to build a wine champion in the fragmented CEE market, via both organic growth and M&A.

IMF says huge hike of minimum wage in North Macedonia could be counterproductive

bne IntelliNews January 28, 2020

North Macedonia’s government has raised the minimum wage by a cumulative 44% since 2017 amid low productivity growth.

Leaked Italian police report says cannabis cultivation in Albania jumped 1,200% in 2019

bne IntelliNews January 28, 2020

Albania was notorious as a major producer of marijuana until a government crackdown in 2014, but an Italian police report leaked to the media shows there has been backsliding recently.

Estonia’s Fermi Energia signs MoU on developing first nuclear reactor

bne IntelliNews January 28, 2020

Fermi Energia is looking to develop Estonia's first source of nuclear energy in the 2030s, but environmental groups say it would pose “significant risks” to the environment and be economically unfeasible.

Work on Afghan stretch of Turkmenistan to India gas pipeline faces additional 6-month delay

Kanat Shaku in Almaty January 28, 2020

TAPI project, also to traverse Pakistan, is going nowhere fast. Claims that Turkmen section is complete seen as highly dubious.

Armenian PM calls into question basis of talks with Azerbaijan

Joshua Kucera for Eurasianet January 28, 2020

The controversial comments came just days before the foreign ministers of the two sides are scheduled to meet for another round of talks.