Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov is in intensive care after suffering a brain haemorrhage, according to his daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva. “His condition is considered stable, ” she wrote on her Instagram account yesterday, apparently seeking to counter claims that her father had in fact died. (more…)
China is expected to suffer a rare setback in its drive to develop its $4trn One Belt One Road global trading, transport and logistics network this week during Premier Li Keqian’s visit to Canberra, with an unnamed Australian officials predicting that Australia will rejected Beijing’s request for its $3.8bn Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility infrastructure fund to be formally aligned with the New Silk Road strategy . The rebuff comes amid concerns that such a move could damage relations with the US at a time when Australia is pressing Washington to bolster its presence in the region and taking a tougher line on inward investment from China.
Last year, the Canberra government blocked two potential Chinese acquisitions – bids in excess of $7.6bn for the Ausgrid electricity company due to be submitted by the State Grid Corporation and the Hong-Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure company; and attempts by a Chinese consortium to purchase the S Kidman & Co cattle farm that stretches across more than 1% of Australia’s land mass.
The debate over whether Australia should align its state infrastructure fund with One Belt One Road follows on from Canberra’s hesitation over joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In 2014, Australia initially decided not to join following lobbying by the US and Japan, but eventually relented after the UK and several other western nations broke ranks and signed up.
The new axis that has been developing between Istanbul and Moscow in recent months appeared to strengthen even further yesterday when President Vladimir Putin signed a bill ratifying the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline that will eventually carry natural gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Thrace on Turkey’s border with Greece.
Turkish Stream (more…)
Outgoing US President Barack Obama this week did his best to thwart his successor Donald Trump’s plans to improve relations with Moscow and to increase US oil and gas production by extending the sanctions imposed on Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea while almost simultaneously withdrawing (more…)
Turkish President Recip Erdogan has paved the way for construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline to begin after officially ratifying the Russian-Turkish accord concerning a new natural gas pipeline running from Krasnodar in southern Russia, along the bed of the Black Sea to Turkish Thrace. The announcement (more…)Vedomosti Read More»
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani yesterday called on outgoing US President Barack Obama not to sign a 10-year extension to Washington’s Iran Sanctions Act, amid reports that the Iranian parliament is preparing to table a motion that would give the government a mandate to resume its nuclear programme in retaliation. (more…)theiranproject Read More»
Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukaev is under arrest after being accused of accepting a $2m bribe in exchange for signing off on Rosneft’s purchase of a stake in mid-sized oil producer Bashneft. “The minister is detained,” the Investigation Committee said in a statement released overnight. “In the near future (more…)reuters Read More»
The Russian economy could return to growth as early as next year, the World Bank predicted yesterday, with a rise in oil prices expected to help it bottom out in the second half of the year. While the bank is forecasting that Russia’s GDP will contract by 0.6% this year, it now sees it growing by 1.5% in 2017 and 1.7% in 2018. Back in April, the bank was forecasting a 1.1% growth rate for next year.
While it is now expects higher oil prices to have a positive impact on domestic demand and to trigger investment activity as some of the country’s major companies replenish their stocks, it warned that the Russian economy remained dangerously dependent on its oil and gas sectors. “This growth upsurge, however, is unlikely to turn the tide in terms of building a more diversified economy,” it said.
The Kremlin will also be hoping that Trump’s victory in the US Presidential elections may put paid to one of the World Bank’s other concerns, namely that economic sanctions imposed after the annexation of Crimea might complicate Russia’s economic recovery. On receiving news of yesterday’s shock result. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Donald Trump a congratulatory telegram in which he expressed his hope that relations between the two world powers would improve “from their crisis state.” Ties between Moscow and Washington must be “based on principles of equality, mutual respect and a real accounting of each other’s positions,” he added.
The Russian Reserve Fund will run out of money by the end of next year, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Lavrov told journalists on Friday, confirming speculation that the country has been burning through its national reserves at an unprecedented rate. Hit by western sanctions (more…)thetimes Read More»
A number Japanese companies and banks are considering participating in the financing and construction of the third stage of the Sakhalin 2 LNG project in Russia’s Far East, it has emerged, as Japan managed to steal the show at last weekend’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok by signing some 20 agreements (more…)ITAR-TASS Read More»
Trade with Iran: Germany became the latest country to report a jump in exports to Iran yesterday when it released official data showing that exports to the Islamic Republic, mainly of industrial plant and equipment, grew by 15% in the first half of the year following the removal of international sanctions. (more…)theiranproject Read More»
UK-China free trade deal: The UK’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has begun discussions with China about the possibility of forging an ambitious free trade deal which could see major Chinese banks and businesses being granted greater access to the UK economy. In an interview (more…)bbc Read More»
Turkish coup: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu today expressed his country’s gratitude to Russia for its “unqualified” support during the attempted military coup earlier this month and indicated that Presidents Erdogan and Putin would be meeting at next month’s G20 meeting in Hangzhou, when the two men would discuss “the removal of economic barriers and other steps to restore relations.”
According to reports in the Iranian Farsnews media agency last week, the speed with which the coup was thwarted in part due to intelligence supplied to Ankara by Russian listening stations in northern Syria and which may have forced the plotters to move sooner than planned.