Ukraine: Central Bank Bans, then Lifts Ban on Foreign Currency Purchases

The Ukrainian central bank began to severely restrict access to foreign currencies on Wednesday in an attempt to curb a sharp drop in the hryvnia, and then rapidly changed course, lifting the ban on foreign currency purchases. Ukraine’s economy has worsened due to infighting over legislation in the Ukrainian parliament and the related inability to…

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Ukraine: Gazprom threatens to shut off the gas again

The gas crisis in Ukraine is heating up again as CEO of Gazprom Alexei Miller reminded his Ukrainian counterparts at Naftogaz that Russia can shut off natural gas within two days due to a dispute over payments. These disputes have stretched into the past long before the conflict in Ukraine even began, but their renewed…

Kazakhstan: No cut in oil production, no devaluation

Kazakh Oil Minister Vladimir Shkolnik has announced that it has no plans to cut oil production, despite the over 50% decline in the prices of common oil benchmark indices like Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate. Shkolnik said that no production decreases were planned for 2015, despite the very clear warnings about lower profits and…

Azerbaijan: Currency unilaterally devalued by 33%

In a surprise move, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan devalued the manat by 33.5% over the weekend. The devaluation came flying in the face of earlier government rhetoric that it would be able to maintain the stability and value of its currency with the precipitous decline in oil prices over the past six months, coupled…

Gazprom Accused of Using Gas Prices to Pressure Turkey

Russian energy major Gazprom has drawn the criticism of Turkish oil major BOTAS, which alleges that the Kremlin-supported entity has been using price increases to put pressure on Turkish firms.  Officials from private Turkish oil and gas firms have expressed similar discontent with Gazprom, which they accuse of raising gas prices in order to induce…

Ukraine: Fighting Rages on in Debaltseve, Putin Issues Plea

Fighting in the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve has raged on despite a tenuous cease fire agreement struck in Minsk last week. The New York Times reports that up to 8,000 Ukrainian forces currently find themselves trapped in the area surrounding Debaltseve. Reports describing the area as lost to the Ukrainian military were seemingly substantiated…

Kazakhstan: Government Mulls Snap Election

Kazakhstan appears poised to hold a snap presidential election. The group that govern the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan (APK),the organization that represents Kazakhstan’s ethnic groups, has called for the election on the grounds that holding it now would allow Kazakh president for life Nursultan Nazarbayev to focus on issues most pressing to the country.…