Russia: Central Bank lowers interest rates to 15%

Unexpectedly, Russia’s Central Bank cut its interest rate by two points, citing a lower risk for inflation given the impending recession and low growth rates. The ruble weakened again against the dollar after the announcement to 72, its lowest level since December. Western economists cited their surprise at this development, and expressed concern that the…

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Russia: Gazprom to Begin Supplying Turkey by 2017

Russian energy major Gazprom announced plans to begin supplying Turkey with natural gas in December of 2016. Gazprom’s plan, as outlined by chief Alexei Miller, is to route approximately 63 billion cubic meters of gas per annum underneath the Black Sea and into Turkey, which would then route it to European markets should the EU…

Alleged Russian Spy Ring Broken Up in New York City

Law enforcement officials at the FBI announced that they have disrupted an alleged Russian-led spy ring operating out of New York City suburbs. The spy ring is purported to have been led by several different Russian agents operating under diverse identities in and around New York City, and that their activities included alleged attempts to…

Tajikistan: Chinese investors pivot from Kyrgyzstan

The most underdeveloped economies of Central Asia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, both have relied heavily on Chinese investment but throughout 2014 Chinese FDI throughout Kyrgyzstan has dropped some 35%. The main influencing factors have been the decision to join the EEU and the constantly changing political leadership in Bishkek. Although some good news has come out…

Tajikistan Secures Financing for CASA-1000

Regional hydroelectricity project CASA-1000 has secured another leg of financing. Tajikistan, one of the proposed deal’s signatories, had struggled for several months to pay for power transmission lines that would traverse its territory, stifling the deal and casting doubt on the project’s ultimate success. Several international bodies, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development,…

Iran: Historically Low Oil Prices “No Threat” to Country

The Iranian oil ministry has declared itself ready and able to cope with oil prices should they reach $25/barrel. Tehran had previously allied itself with countries such as Venezuela whose economies depend heavily on hydrocarbons profit to function, though the most recent diplomatic offensive appears to have failed to have the desired effect. Bijan Namdur…

Iran and Russia Ink New Defense Treaty

Iranian and Russian officials inked a new cooperation deal this past Tuesday. The agreement has a two-tier focus, the first of which is military, whilst the other is technological. The military aspect was signed off on by the two countries’ respective defense ministers, and was seemingly engineered to counter a perceived threat posed by the…

Russia: Current sovereign debt ratings will be ignored

Russia’s Central Bank has announced it will use credit ratings of lenders before March 1 of last year (2014) in determining its capital requirements, artificially easing pressure on debt ridden Russian companies struggling for refinancing. Without access to Western capital markets, companies have either been forced to accept egregiously high interest rates from non-Western banks,…

Ukraine: Military Retakes Donetsk Airport

The Ukrainian military announced that its forces have successfully regained control of the Donetsk airport. The Ukrainian military has long laid siege to the airport, which for months has been the sight of intensive fighting between separatist militias and Ukrainian military. The latest spat of intense fighting has seemingly shaken the last bastions of separatist…