Ukraine: Minsk summit breaks down

The summit organized by the OSCE on Saturday in Minsk, which aimed to end the months of fighting between the Ukrainian military and separatist groups came to an end just hours after the meeting was convened. The talks ended with “no signature” on any proposals, and discussions were unlikely to resume the following day. One…

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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…

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,…

Russia: Ruble stabilizes after Putin’s speech

After Putin’s speech yesterday, the Russian ruble’s precipitous decline has stabilized somewhat. The President of Russia tacitly endorsed the central bank’s policy of interest rate inflation and kept outlook relatively focused on the currency crisis rather than declining government revenues and sanctions. The currency is holding steady right now at 61 rubles on the dollar,…

Iran: No “backward steps” on nuclear program acceptable

The new deadline on November 24 for Iran is rapidly approaching, and still large questions about basic elements of the deal are prevalent in the media. Iran has released new statements prohibiting any approval in negotiations on “backward steps,” specifically the enrichment of uranium and number of active centrifuges. The comments were made by Deputy…

Ukraine: Naftogaz repays bonds, but economy sinks further

Yesterday, Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz repaid its Eurobond of $1.595 billion in principal, with a total accumulated coupon (or interest) of $75.76 million. It had been a source of concern to bondholders that Naftogaz would be forced to default with Ukraine facing its current political situation – an ongoing civil war and fraught relations…

Afghan Electoral Fraud Allegations Claim First Victim

Rampant allegations of fraud and foul play during Afghanistan’s run-off election have led to the resignation of another prominent figure, top election official Ziaulhaq Amarkhil. Amarkhil, who has been the target of accusations of biased vote counting and the fraudulent placing of over one million additional votes. The resignation of Amarkhil is described as the…

Russia to Ratify Customs Union with Kazakhstan, Belarus

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan announced that they will ratify the Eurasian Economic Union Treat during this coming fall. The four counties have all been the objects of considerable attention from the Kremlin as it seeks to develop a union similar to that of the European Union in its own backyard. Russian President Vladimir Putin has…