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Friday, 28 February 2014

Ukraine Facing Financial Instability But IMF May Help Soon - SPIEGEL ONLINE #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Facing Financial Instability But IMF May Help Soon - SPIEGEL ONLINE:


Ukrainian Central Bank governor Stepan Kubiv during a press conference on Friday announcing new withdrawal limits.
Stepan Kubiv, 51, looks as earnest as one would expect for the president of a central bank. Yet in Kubiv's case, he has only held his office as the governor of Ukraine's national bank since Monday. Prior to that, he was a "commandant" of Ukraine's Euromaidan opposition movement, which managed to topple President Viktor Yanukovych. Now Kubiv must take up a different battle -- keeping his country from financial collapse.

On Wednesday, Kubiv noted that his country's foreign currency reserves had dropped from $17.8 billion (€13 billion) to $15 billion just since the beginning of February, as the national bank attempted to prop up the exchange rate of the country's currency, the hryvnia. Those efforts met with little success, and the hryvnia has fallen to a record low against the dollar."

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Why is Turkey buying more gas than it needs from Iran? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Why is Turkey buying more gas than it needs from Iran? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

"On Jan. 29, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Tehran to bolster trade and energy ties, hoping to reach $30 billion in trade volume by the end of 2015. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz followed up with an offer Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh promptly accepted. Under the terms of the agreement, Tehran will reduce its gas prices if Turkey doubles its gas imports — from 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) to 20 bcm. Despite the price-reduction commitment, if the gas-import volume continues to increase, Turkey could face a critical budget threat, as Turkey’s gas bills have averaged 9% higher than its consumption volume should have cost over the last six years."

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William Duff, financial supervisor, 1922-2014 -

William Duff, financial supervisor, 1922-2014 -


A last official link between the Gulf’s colonial era and its commercially dynamic present, Bill Duff devoted his life to Dubai and played a bigger part than any other westerner in the early transformation of the emirate from obscure outpost into global hub.

Duff, who has died aged 91, arrived as an economic adviser in 1959 in what were called the Trucial states. His mission came at the behest of the UK, which was seeking to boost social development among its Gulf protectorates as communist and nationalist agitation grew.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan al-Nahyan, ruler of richer neighbour Abu Dhabi, vacillated – only for Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum to hire the self-effacing Scot, with whom he instantly hit it off. That lasting partnership with the wily Bedouin leader laid the financial foundations of modern Dubai. Duff built the accounts and customs departments of the ruler’s office, taking signatory powers together with Sheikh Rashid."

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Russian retailer Lenta shares dip on London IPO debut — RT Business

Russian retailer Lenta shares dip on London IPO debut — RT Business:

"Shares in Russian hypermarket chain Lenta have dipped on the first day of trading on the London Exchange. The company only managed to raise $952 million in its IPO, short of the estimated $1 billion. 

Lenta, trading under the ticker symbol ‘LNTA:LI’ fell to $9.735 at 8:10a.m. in London, before recovering to $9.94 at 11:03a.m.

A $10.00 share price was decided on Thursday, after the company narrowed the price range twice. The original global depository receipt (GDR) range was set at $9.50-$11.00 on February 14, which would have set an upper range market capitalization at $4.95 billion. The upper limit was reduced to $10.25 on Thursday, with the company valued at $4.32 billion.

Trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange, MICEX, will begin on March 6."

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Ukraine struggling to hold the hryvnia | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Ukraine struggling to hold the hryvnia | beyondbrics:


Source: Thomson Reuters

Ukraine’s central bank is doing what it can to protect the hryvnia.

The currency was trading at 9.10 to the US dollar on Friday morning, back from a low of 11 to the dollar on Thursday (it opened the year at 8.20). Reuters reported that foreign exchange reserves had fallen to $15bn from $17.8bn on February 1, as the bank intervened to reduce volatility in the exchange rate.

Reuters also reported that Stepan Kubiv, appointed as central bank governor this week, told journalists on Friday the bank would limit foreign currency withdrawals from bank deposits to 15,000 hryvnia a day.

It is a stop-gap measure at best. As Kubiv said in a statement announcing his appointment on Thursday, “the resumption of talks with foreign creditors and restoration of investors’ confidence in our country are crucial.” Anders Aslund, a former advisor to the Ukrainian government, argued in the FT that the IMF could start disbursements under a new aid package as early as next month – though there are big question marks over that.

With fresh and alarming twists to the situation coming quickly, Kubiv will have his work cut out."

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Austria to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainians: foreign ministry - ECONOMICS #EuroMaidan

Austria to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainians: foreign ministry - ECONOMICS:

"Austria will freeze the bank accounts of 18 Ukrainians following a request from Ukraine's foreign ministry and pending possible European Union sanctions, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

"Austria has decided to freeze possible bank accounts and assets of 18 Ukrainian citizens in Austria. This has been done on the basis of an official request by the Ukrainian foreign ministry," the ministry said.

It called the move "a temporary precautionary measure until EU restrictive measures enter into force".

After Ukraine suffered its bloodiest day since the Soviet era last week, the 28-nation EU agreed in principle to impose sanctions such as visa bans and asset freezes on unnamed senior Ukrainian officials. "

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From Tunis to Kiev - YouTube #EuroMaidan

From Tunis to Kiev - YouTube: ""

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Severstal: Plan of steel? - YouTube

Severstal: Plan of steel? - YouTube: ""

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European Parliament votes to allow Emiratis visa-free travel to Schengen Area | The National

European Parliament votes to allow Emiratis visa-free travel to Schengen Area | The National:

"The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to allow visa-free travel for UAE citizens to Europe.

Of the 577 members voting in Strasbourg on Thursday, 523 voted in favour of waiving visa requirements for Emiratis travelling to the 26 Schengen Area states.

The result was welcomed by UAE officials, who said it came as a result of years of efforts.

“We’ll become the first Arab country whose nationals are exempted from the Schengen visa,” said Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs."

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Mubadala signs $971m deal with Brazil's Trafigura Group for Porto Sudeste iron ore port | The National

Mubadala signs $971m deal with Brazil's Trafigura Group for Porto Sudeste iron ore port | The National:

"Mubadala and Trafigura Group have completed their acquisition of a controlling stake in a Brazilian iron ore port terminal from MMX Mineração e Metálicos, in a deal worth approximately US$971 million.

Mubadala, the strategic investment company of the Abu Dhabi Government and Trafigura, the world’s second-largest metal trader, announced a deal to acquire a 65 per cent stake in Porto Sudeste from MMX in October, after signing a memorandum of understanding to that effect in September.

The deal involved Mubadala and Trafigura (through its Impala subsidiary) paying $400m for the shares in Porto Sudeste, a major iron-ore port terminal located in Itaguai, Rio de Janeiro state."

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Qantas backs Emirates partnership despite international losses |

Qantas backs Emirates partnership despite international losses |

"Qantas believes the revenue-sharing agreement it signed with Emirates last year is playing a key role in strengthening its position on the European route despite international losses almost tripling.

The Qantas Group released its half-year results on Thursday, announcing a before tax loss of 252 million Australian dollars. Its international division reported an EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) loss of A$262 million, compared to A$91 million in the first half of 2013.

Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, stated that the results are “unacceptable and unsustainable.”

The Australian financial year runs from July 1 to June 30."

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Dubai’s gold trade caught in crossfire over weak compliance |

Dubai’s gold trade caught in crossfire over weak compliance |

"While Dubai-headquartered Kaloti Jewellery Group is at the centre of certain international media reports over alleged laxness on its bullion sourcing, Dubai’s multi-billion dollar gold trade itself has been caught in the crossfire over weak compliance requirements.

This, market sources say, is “totally out of step” with reality.

In particular, the reports seem to suggest the supposed presence of “conflict area” gold washing up within Dubai’s bullion industry, and inclusive of refining, wholesale and retail operations.

Plus, there is the impression tied to the reports about less-than-secure control mechanisms on the part of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), the commodities hub and which is closely associated with the physical storage and the futures contracts on the metal."

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Emerging-Market ETF Rallies as Brazil’s Real Leads Gains - Bloomberg

Emerging-Market ETF Rallies as Brazil’s Real Leads Gains - Bloomberg:

"The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose to a one-month high as better-than-estimated growth in Brazil bolstered optimism the global economy is recovering. The real led gains among the world’s major currencies. 

The exchange-traded fund climbed 1.9 percent to $39.75 at the close in New York, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.7 percent to 963.23. Brazil’s Ibovespa rallied 2.2 percent as iron-ore producer Vale SA (VALE) surged, while the real jumped to a two-month high. China’s swaps had the biggest drop in eight months as the central bank signaled cash supply is adequate. Russia’s ruble fell to a record as the nation began military exercises amid deepening tensions in Ukraine.

Brazilian shares led gains in major emerging-market equity gauges after data showed the economy in the fourth quarter grew more than forecast as an increase in investment offset a drop in industrial production. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is likely to keep its strategy of gradually trimming bond buying even as policy makers monitor data to determine if the weakness in the economy is temporary."

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