Given that Russian subjects are reportedly being force fed a diet of Putin-esque mis-information over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, it seems worth noting what strategists employed by Russian investment banks are saying about the threat of deeper sanctions against Russia.
Here’s Charlie Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital (emphasis ours)… Read more
Presented without comment.
Gunvor $500m note, due May 2018. Read more
Russian stocks having a bad morning following the sanction filled night before:
That’s the Micex off 3 per cent and the RTS off 3.7 per cent at pixel… Read more
Depends on how confident you are that the market and economists can predict Putin’s next move, we suppose. Read more
In this quad of graphs, can you spot the odd one out?
A surreal quality to a statement by Russian bank VTB on Wednesday…
A VTB Group company has acquired 83.7 bn VTB shares VTB Group announces that VTB Pension Administrator has acquired 83,719,899,774 voting shares of JSC VTB Bank (the ‘Bank’) as a result of an offer to purchase the Bank’s shares published on March 2nd, 2012. The shares were acquired on April 17th, 2012.
On a pretty gloomy Tuesday morning generally, Russia’s headline RTS index is taking a particularly severe beating.
Be it protests, the threat of a ratings downgrade (Fitch got nervous yesterday) or otherwise, something has spooked investors and Monday’s gains have been well and truly reversed. Whatever post-election-Putin-stability-bounce existed has disappeared. Read more
Police and demonstrators clashed and hundred of arrests were made in central Moscow on Monday night during protests against widespread fraud in Sunday’s election of Vladimir Putin to a third term as Russia’s president, the FT reports. Police said the protest, which began peacefully, numbered 14,000, while organisers claimed 20,000. When police tried to clear Pushkin Square at 9.45pm, a group refused to leave and scuffles broke out. Among those arrested was Alexei Navalny, the charismatic anti-corruption blogger who has become one of the main opposition leaders, though he was later released. Earlier, Mr Navalny led the crowds in a roaring chant as he denounced the elections as falsified and illegitimate. “It was a difficult day yesterday, many were disappointed. But what did you expect from this band of swindlers and thieves? They have been stealing from the country for the last 12 years. Yesterday they stole from us again.”
Russia’s opposition has vowed to continue protests alleging widespread irregularities after a tearful Vladimir Putin claimed victory in an election that will see him return for a third term as president, the FT reports. With more than 90 per cent of votes counted on Sunday night, the tally for the former spy who has dominated Russian politics for the past dozen years stood at 65 per cent. That represents a comfortable victory with no need to go into a second round of voting. Later blaming the wind for the tears in his eyes, Mr Putin wasted no time in declaring victory, addressing thousands of Russian flag-waving supporters at a victory rally outside the Kremlin walls. “I promised we would win. And we did win!” Mr Putin said, to cheers from his supporters. “We won an open and honest battle.” “It was a very important test for all of our people, a test of political maturity and independence. We showed that no one can force anything upon us,” he added.
Vladimir Putin has claimed victory in Russia’s presidential elections, although the opposition has denounced the fairness of the vote and vowed to continue protests, reports the FT. “We have won in an open and fair fight,” Putin told crowds gathered in Moscow, breaking into tears during his speech, the WSJ says. “I promised you we would win. We have won. Glory to Russia,” he added. Activists said that irregularities were rife in the election, including video evidence of “carousel voting”, or voters being driven to different polling stations to cast more than one ballot, the FT adds. Mr Putin will be president until 2018. He can then run for another six years.
One of Russia’s richest tycoons said on Monday he would run for president against Vladimir Putin in next year’s election, prompting speculation that the Kremlin may be trying to contain growing public dissent in its “managed” democracy, the FT reports. Mikhail Prokhorov, 46, the third-richest man in Russia and owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team, returned to the political fray after thousands of middle-class voters demonstrated at the weekend over alleged vote-rigging in parliamentary elections. Mr Putin’s announcement in September that, after four years as prime minister, he would return to the presidency next year, has fanned middle-class anger. According to the Wall Street Journal, State television, which typically gives little coverage to opposition figures, led its 6 p.m. newscast with Mr. Prokhorov’s announcement, highlighting his assertion that he was doing it without high-level blessing.
Vladimir Putin travels to Beijing on Tuesday for a visit designed to breathe new life into the countries’ faltering relations and showcase the Russian prime minister’s commitment to an eastward tilt in Russian foreign policy, writes the FT. The Beijing visit, Mr Putin’s first overseas trip since it was announced that he will run for the presidency in 2012, follows his comments last week that Russia would seek to create a “Eurasian Union” with former Soviet states, starting with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Twenty years after the Soviet Union collapsed, Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, may not, as is sometimes alleged, be trying to recreate it, writes the FT. But he is pursuing a different project – to build a “quasi-European Union” out of former Soviet states. A customs union he launched a year ago between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan has already removed tariffs and customs controls along the three states’ internal borders. Come January this is due to expand into a “common economic space”, ensuring free movement of goods, services and capital across a single market of 165m people – 60 per cent of the former Soviet population. At a Moscow summit this month, prime ministers of the three states set an even more ambitious target – turning the grouping into a “Eurasian economic union” by 2013. There is even talk, down the line, of a common currency. “This is truly an event of great interstate and geopolitical significance,” Mr Putin said after the summit. “For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the first real step has been made towards restoring natural economic and trade ties in the post-Soviet space.”
Dmitry Medvedev has made clear he would like a second term as Russian president but said he and prime minister Vladimir Putin would not run against each other next year. In a Financial Times interview, the president also hinted that if he won a second term, he would introduce a more competitive political system – essential to the realisation of his vision for Russia’s economic modernisation. “Political competition is necessary for the development of the economy,” he said. Making some of his most liberal statements as president, Mr Medvedev said important features of the “managed” democracy and state-dominated economy put in place by Mr Putin, his mentor and presidential predecessor, should be reversed. He even suggested that elections for governors of Russia’s 89 regions – whose removal was a key aspect of Mr Putin’s centralisation of power – might eventually be restored.
Igor Sechin, the deputy prime minister of Russia, stepped down as chairman of the board of Rosneft just nine days after an order from the Russian president that ministers should leave the boards of state companies, the FT says. Sechin had been a key architect of BP’s landmark alliance with the Russian state oil champion. Rosneft said Mr Sechin had “decided to set a good example” by following through so quickly on the president’s orders as part of overall “reform of the state monopolies”. Reuters adds that president Medvedev’s board purge is viewed as part of a wider bid to assert his authority and gain support within the elite to run for a second term as president in the March 2012 election.
It’s not just US Congressmen who are concerned about BP’s Global and Arctic Strategic Alliance with Rosneft.
BP’s partner in Russia is also worried. Read more
The US’s attempt to “reset” ties with Russia has been tested by leaked diplomatic cables about possible links between Moscow and the killing of a dissident in London, the FT reports. Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime ministers of Russia and Turkey respectively, attacked the US over the content of the cables, on a day a top US diplomat conceded it was causing “substantial damage” to Washington’s relations across the world. President Barack Obama’s signature policy of reaching out to Russia is under strain because of doubts over the Senate ratification of the Start arms control treaty and President Dmitry Medvedev’s warning that a new “arms race” could erupt if they do not agree on missile defence. Bloomberg reports that Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King that Robert Gates, US defence secretary, had been “badly misled,” in his assessment of Russian democracy.
As pointed out to us by some friendly sources — there’s been some interesting moves in the USD/RUB crossrate on Thursday:
Vladimir Putin has been taking part in an annual question-and-answer session with Russian citizens on Thursday, and while we couldn’t possibly comment on what’s prompting his forthright commentary, we have to say some of the things he’s been saying have been, well, candid.
A small sample: Read more
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin appears to have forgotten his recent comments about reducing the state’s role in the economy.
As the The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday: Read more
While addressing the World Economic Forum on Wednesday evening, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin offered the following thoughts on the state of the global reserve currency system:
“The one reserve currency has become a danger to the world economy: that is now obvious to everybody.”