Ukraine or Russia? How Would Economic Factors Influence a Vote?

Last month residents of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Although many in the West have questioned the freedom and fairness of the referendum, which was held in the intimidating presence of Russian troops, no one doubts that many Crimean residents did have a true preference for the Russian option. […]

Russian Sanctions and the Negative Effect on Global Energy Security

By Igor Alexeev: After a series of headline-grabbing statements about the possibility of “switching” European consumers over to American gas, the US media hastened to announce the launch of Obama’s oil and gas offensive against Russia. In reality the EU is not currently prepared, neither technically nor in terms of price, to buy its energy […]

Limits on the Efficacy of Russia’s Economic Weapon

The United States and European allies responded to the Russian annexation of Crimea by announcing targeted economic sanctions against a list of Russia individuals (plus one bank) and threatening to impose stronger sanctions in the future. The sanctions included travel restrictions and asset freezes for the listed individuals. On March 24, the Group of 8 […]

Does the West Have Economic Levers to Influence Russian Foreign Policy?

The financial markets have reacted frantically to Russia’s invasion of Crimea – the rouble has weakened despite the Central Bank of Russia intervening massively to prop it up, share prices on the Moscow stock exchange have collapsed and there are reports of significant capital flight from Russia. The West has decided on a travel ban […]

O (Turkish) Consumer, Where Art Thou?

Most of the analyses of the Central Bank of Turkey’s rate hike last week concentrated on its impact on banks and corporates. There was surprisingly little mention of consumers. Starting my latest Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) column with this sentence, I go on to explain why consumers might get hit worse than businesses and banks […]

Emerging Market Preview of the Week Ahead

(from my colleagues Dr. Win Thin and Ilan Solot) Brazil reports January trade data on Monday.  Brazil will also report December IP on Tuesday (expected at 0.2% y/y) and January IPCA inflationon Friday (expected at 5.67% y/y vs. 5.91% previously).  Overall, the economy remains soft and the recent drop in inflation suggests the tightening cycle is almost over.  We […]

Can Oligarchs Be Good for the Economy?

It is impossible to discuss economics in Russia, or in many other countries formerly known as the Soviet Union, without reference to oligarchs. Ever since the Iron Curtain was officially drawn back in 1991, this new class of powerful businessmen, with personalities as big as their checkbooks, has stood out as an omnipresent symbol of […]