Breakingviews

Eurovision puts Ukraine in helpful spotlight

May 16, 2016

Kiev’s pride in winning Saturday’s annual croon-fest has a downside: it has to pay to host next year’s. Russia has pointed out Ukraine has a ropey economy and a war in the east. The experience of former hosts, though, suggests there could be a return on the investment.

Chernobyl is symbol of shaky EU-Ukraine ties

April 26, 2016

Thirty years after the disaster at the nuclear power station, EU money has helped build a structure to contain further reactor fallout. But Ukraine will have to sort any future issues by itself. Efforts to bring Kiev and Brussels closer suffer from a similar risky dynamic.

Grenada offers debt restructuring model for Greece

April 9, 2015

The Caribbean island is close to agreeing a deal with creditors after years of wrangling. The deal structure, including warrants and phased debt relief, is equitable, and provides incentives for reform. It looks like a decent model for Ukraine—or even Greece.

Others will join hryvnia and rouble in FX sin bin

February 6, 2015

Ukraine’s currency plunged 30 pct in a day. Russia’s is down by half since July. Both are stuck in vicious circles, where local inflation and devaluation reinforce each other. In a disinflationary world where capital is flighty, others could easily fall into the same spiral.

Putin, Piketty and Draghi hit Davos in spirit only

January 23, 2015

Political and financial leaders attending the World Economic Forum’s 45th annual meeting are buzzing about rampant inequality, the ECB’s quantitative easing and Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. All that’s missing from the Alpine retreat are the three provocateurs of the debates.

Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

December 29, 2014

Markets worried about Europe’s economy in 2014. They will worry about Europe’s security in 2015. EU sanctions over Ukraine will weigh heavily on Russia’s economy. A lot depends on Vladimir Putin, but Europeans need to define what they want sanctions to achieve.

Only Putin can stop rouble’s fall

November 7, 2014

Russia’s currency is sinking. The central bank is blameless. Neither intervention nor higher rates can support the rouble. The economy is deteriorating and reform hopes are fading as Moscow retreats into isolation. The situation will persist until the president changes policy.

Malaysia Airlines plight points to riskier world

July 18, 2014

Fatal air passenger accidents almost never happen. Malaysia Airlines has been struck by tragedy twice in four months. The aviation industry has its own challenges. Yet even more robust businesses need to consider political risk carefully.

Gazprom/Ukraine dispute is proxy for Putin’s whims

June 16, 2014

The Russian energy group will deliver only pre-paid gas to Ukraine, after talks on $4 bln of overdue bills collapsed. Combine that with renewed hostilities by Russian separatists in the east of the country, and markets were premature in believing that the Ukraine crisis has ended.

Russia puts gas-hungry China in a bear hug

May 21, 2014

A planned pipeline gives Russia a new market outside the increasingly frosty EU. For oil major PetroChina this should staunch losses from low regulated prices at home. China gets cheap supply, but at a cost: the optics of the deal shred Beijing’s claims of political neutrality.