The sale of Morgan Stanley’s oil trading and storage businesses to state-owned Russian energy giant Rosneft appears to be in jeopardy following statements released by Morgan Stanley representatives. The transaction, which was brokered last year by the two sides and submitted for approval in July, has recently been hamstrung by the current state of economic relations between Moscow and Western nations. As it stands now, the deal’s viability is in doubt given the fact that Morgan Stanley must convince the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States that the deal is not a national security risk. Further complicating the matter, Rosneft executives have been targeted by US sanctions, and the company’s ability to raise capital in United States dollars has been all but erased.
Sources report that the attitude of officials on both sides of the deal has grown “increasingly pessimistic,” while the eventual failure of the deal is considered to be in both sides’ “best interest.” Morgan Stanley has long sought to rid itself of its oil-trading business, though deals with other buyers, such as Qatar, have met similar fates. The banking giant already released statements declaring its willingness to consider other buyers should the deal with Rosneft fall through. Rosneft has not commented on the state of the transaction.
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- Russia has claimed to have withdrawn 17,000 soldiers from near the Ukrainian border. The statement issued by the Kremlin purports to have pulled the troops now that “training exercises in the Rostov [region of Russia] have been ended.” Western nations, as well as the government in Kiev have long refuted this motive, instead labeling the buildup as proof of Russia’s flagrant violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.
- A precipitous drop in commodity prices has damaged Mongolia’s economy. Mongolia relies heavily on natural resources to prop up its economy, but has not been able to maintain consistent growth rates despite being hailed as one of the most promising world economies a few short years ago. Lawmakers in Ulaanbaatar recently pushed bills through the Mongolian parliament that allowed for greater foreign investment in its vast mineral reserves, though the price of coal, Mongolia’s second largest export, among others, has caused many to remain skeptical as to the Mongolia economy’s sustainability.
- Afghanistan inked a landmark deal with Pakistan finally establishing a transit fee for electricity that will theoretically be transmitted from Tajikistan into Pakistan. The agreement was signed by Pakistani and Afghan officials and was mediated by officials from the World Bank. Electricity originating in Central Asia will be transmitted at a fee of 1.25 cents per kilowatt transmitted once the much-discussed CASA-1000 project is completed.
- A suicide bomber blew himself up near the headquarters of a local police station in southern Afghanistan, killing one and wounding several others. The bombing, which took place in Helmand province, appears to have been carried out with the goal of weakening the regional Afghan security apparatus as the withdrawal of international forces nears.
- Armenia has officially joined the Eurasian Economic Union. The presidents of flagship EEU members Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan were in attendance and mediated the signing, which originally had been intended for July, but was delayed due to “technical matters.” The EEU states released a statement welcoming Armenia, and declaring their intention of eliminating legal and economic obstacles that currently prevent full integration.
- The Tajik government interrupted text message services in order to prevent protests in the capital city of Dushanbe. The move to censure communication was denied by government representatives, though the rally in question was designed to protest the regime of Emomali Rahmon, Tajikistan’s strongman president.