Iran announced that it will issue $300 million in state treasury bills, an Iranian alternative to sovereign debt that is sharia-law compliant. The bills are being issued well below their market value for the time being and are seen as a means of gauging interest in the opening Iranian market. The Iranian government has previously issued treasury bonds to contractors instead of paying them, and makes them available in the Fara Bourse, an over-the-counter market.
Another motivation for the issuance is the lack of liquidity in the Iranian market. Despite widespread optimism in relation to the nuclear deal, Iranian banks still face double-digit inflation, high interest rates and large amounts of bad debt. The treasury bond issuance, if successful, should provide the Iranian central bank with additional funds, enabling it to pay down some of its bad debt.
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- EurasiaNet has a new article on controversial Moldovan businessman Ilan Şor. Şor has been linked to a nearly $1 billion money laundering scandal that has enraged thousands of Moldovans. Three months ago, however, Şor ran for mayor of the Moldovan town of Orhei, and has won the approval of his roughly 30,000 constituents by transforming himself into a so-called “mayor-investor.” In just three months Şor has funded road repair a new soccer stadium and a new park. It is unclear what the source of funding has been for these new initiatives.
- Taliban fighters seized control of the northern city of Kunduz after several hours of fighting throughout the city. The fall is being described as a major setback for government forces, who had engaged Taliban fighters seeking to take control of the city during the past year. The Afghan government announced that it would send reinforcement to the region.
- Ukrainian national energy company Naftogaz Ukrainy received $500 million in funding from a number of international finance institutions to purchase natural gas from Russia. The head of Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolev, was coy about where the companies were located and did not provide more details. The funds are nonetheless in a Naftogaz account dedicated to Gazprom, Kobolev stated.
- Breakaway region Nagorno-Karabakh was the source of violence over the weekend as fire broke out between Azeri and Armenian forces, killing four Armenians. The latest bout of violence comes on the heels of allegations made by Armenia that Azeri security forces killed three Armenian civilians last week.