The tiny country of Belgium with a GDP of $484 billion, a country that became famous to the chagrin of some people because it did just fine for a couple of years without a national government – well, it’s growing an enormous mountain of US Treasuries.
Entries in Russia & Ex-Soviets (43)
By Nick Cunningham: Russia’s primary energy customer is Europe, which is now planning sanctions. That has accelerated the natural gas deal Russia is trying to hammer out with China. But they’ve been negotiating for years, the biggest sticking point being price!
Armed pro-Russian separatists barricaded in official buildings in eastern Ukraine exhorted Uncle Putin to come to their aid. But sudden breath of fresh air: a poll found that an overwhelming majority of the people in that region want to remain part of Ukraine.
Russia doesn't need sanctions for its economy to slither into trouble. Last year, growth slowed to 1.3%, worst in four years. This year started out even shakier. The current entanglements are knocking the economy into outright recession, and fast.
By Nick Cunningham: That the US could unleash a flood of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to drive down prices has been pushed for weeks, most recently by George Soros, but has been dismissed as not a serious option. Then Obama went to Saudi Arabia.
Stocks down, bonds down, ruble down, interest rates up: the pinpricks of the sanction spiral are painful – for foreign investors.
By Steve Sjuggerud, Daily Wealth: I admit it: I make mistakes investing. People get the impression that because I'm a well-known investment writer I somehow don't make mistakes in the markets. That's crazy! The more important factor is how you handle them.
The White House attacks Russian financial markets and oil, publicly and behind-the-scenes, Merkel suffers from “moral cowardice,” Russia develops the “Putin Doctrine” and threatens Estonia, and a crescendo of sanctions and counter-sanctions erupts. What gives?
By Dan Dicker, Inside Investor: The release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve took down the price of oil in the US, but not in the rest of the world, and didn't impact Russia. New measures are bandied about - ludicrous attempts by the government to flex some muscle.
The first official warning shot was fired before an all-out assault on the dollar system begins. Not by a Putin advisor that can be brushed off, but by Alexey Ulyukaev, Russia’s Minister of Economy and former Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank. A major escalation.
By Eva Galperin and Danny O'Brien, EFF: Russia has escalated its use of its Internet censorship law to target news sites, bloggers, and politicians under the slimmest excuse of preventing unauthorized protests and enforcing house arrest regulations.
By James Farro: Who knew what about the “surprise” release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve? Because the news was leaked to a chosen few, days in advance.
It took a while. But it had to come, the public warning shot – after some ferocious lobbying behind closed doors. No one in Germany is allowed to get in the way of the sacrosanct exporters. The German economy, to the chagrin of neighboring countries, is based on them.
By Renee Parsons: I’ve never missed George Carlin, a biting political satirist and a comic of clear-eyed integrity, as much as last week when some of the most utterly preposterous political pronouncements have been foisted upon the American public as gospel truth.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: ExxonMobil had a rotten week: a string of bad news from seething hotspots around the world, just as rising costs and flat output raise questions about the firm’s trajectory.
By Valentin Mândrăşescu: Washington’s defaulting on an agreement with Russia about Ukraine’s future, and the prospect of NATO troops in Ukraine, convinced Putin and much of the Russian elite that there’s no point in negotiating with the US. Big risks lie ahead.
By Benjamin Shepherd, Chief Investment Strategist: As global investor who focuses on the emerging markets, I'm willing to put money to work almost anywhere in the world there’s a return to be made. I say almost because Russia is the one country I avoid.
The US offered the Ukraine $1 billion in aid, the EU €11 billion. The IMF is working on its aid package. All to shift losses from lenders, bondholders, hedge funds... to taxpayers. But it won’t rescue the economy. Because it's a cesspool of corruption and plundering oligarchs.