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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 6th May 2014, 18:57
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Ruble Plunge Hitting Russians Speeds Slide to Recession
By Agnes Lovasz and Anna Andrianova May 6, 2014 12:37 PM ET
As Russia’s central bank struggles to shield the ruble from the standoff over Ukraine, Vasily Isaev says it may already be too little, too late to save his Italian vacation plans.

“If you get your salary in rubles, a trip to the beach in Europe is going to be difficult this year,” said the 37-year-old sales manager, looking up from his English homework in the park near Tverskoy Boulevard in central Moscow. “We’re going to Bulgaria instead of Italy this year and we’re renting an apartment a little further away from the sea.”

Consumers like Isaev, spending more than a few months ago to fill a shopping cart with everyday items, may be squeezed most by the currency’s decline as inflation quickens. Wobbling consumption threatens to knock out another pillar of the economy reeling from sanctions that stoked capital flight.

Unruffled by the central bank’s emergency measures, the ruble has depreciated as an expanding list of sanctions in response to President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine sparked a selloff of assets. The ruble has weakened 7.2 percent this year, the third-worst performance after the Argentine and Chilean pesos among 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The currency fell 0.5 percent over the past month.

The ruble was 0.8 percent stronger at 35.43 against the dollar at 7:02 p.m. in Moscow. The benchmark Micex Index of 50 stocks rose 1.6 percent to 1,318.57, trimming declines this year to 12 percent.
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The eroding spending power of consumers is contributing to the slide of the Russian economy, which is reeling from investor flight. Capital outflow was $50.6 billion in the first quarter alone, compared with $63 billion last year.

The capital flight means that Russia’s $2 trillion economy is already in a recession, according to the International Monetary Fund. The lender cut the country’s economic forecast for the second time in less than a month last week, predicting full-year growth will slow to 0.2 percent from 1.3 percent last year.
Ruble Plunge Hitting Russians Speeds Slide to Recession - Bloomberg
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Old 7th May 2014, 15:07
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G-7 Pledges to Find New Energy Supplies to Counter Russia
By Andrew Frye and Ben Sills May 6, 2014 10:54 AM ET
The Group of Seven nations agreed to find new sources of energy to prevent Russia from using its oil and gas reserves as a “political weapon,” German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

The world’s leading economies will expand their natural gas infrastructure, increase their efforts to save energy and use renewable power as part of the agreement, Gabriel said at a press briefing in Rome today where he attended a meeting of G-7 energy ministers. The group will also draw up a plan to deliver emergency supplies to countries like Ukraine that may face shortages, Italy’s Federica Guidi said.

“We’ve seen Russia use energy as a weapon on previous occasions,” U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said at a news briefing after the talks. “In the past we let that happen and then we went back to business as usual. We’ve decided we’re not going to allow that this time. We have taken measures to start reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian gas.”

The European Union’s reliance on Russian oil and gas has hampered the global response to escalating violence in Ukraine and the worst standoff with Russia since the Cold War. Russia under President Vladimir Putin provides about a third of the EU’s oil and gas needs, mainly via state-controlled OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft (ROSN) through pipelines that cross Ukraine.
G-7 Pledges to Find New Energy Supplies to Counter Russia - Bloomberg
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Old 8th May 2014, 20:55
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End of oil boom threatens Norway's welfare model
By Balazs Koranyi OSLO Thu May 8, 2014 4:08am EDT
Norway's energy boom is tailing off years ahead of expectations, exposing an economy unprepared for life after oil and threatening the long-term viability of the world's most generous welfare model.
End of oil boom threatens Norway's welfare model | Reuters
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Old 17th May 2014, 19:47
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Alberta to boycott oil summit in Russia in unprecedented response to growing tension in Ukraine
By Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal May 14, 2014
EDMONTON - Alberta will boycott the World Petroleum Congress in Russia next month to show its disapproval of the superpower’s policies in Ukraine.

“We’ve condemned acts of violence that have taken place, we’ve raised the Ukrainian flag here at the legislature and we’ve announced an aid package,” Premier Dave Hancock said Wednesday.

“In the face of ongoing aggression, I have made the decision to withdraw all provincial support for the congress being held in Moscow next month.”

The move is unprecedented.
Alberta to boycott oil summit in Russia in unprecedented response to growing tension in Ukraine
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Old 20th May 2014, 16:28
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Putin yet to seal gas deal on China visit, wins support on Ukraine
By Alexei Anishchuk and Fayen Wong
SHANGHAI Tue May 20, 2014 10:20am EDT
(Reuters) - China and Russia failed to sign a $400 billion gas supply agreement on Tuesday, despite growing urgency for the Kremlin to seal a deal as it faces economic and political isolation in the West over the crisis in Ukraine.

Negotiators from both countries have been unable to bridge differences on price, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Shanghai, meaning that the contract was not signed on Tuesday as many in the industry had predicted.

But there is still a chance that the two sides could agree before Putin leaves China on Wednesday, or, more likely, in time for an economic forum in the Russian city of St. Petersburg later this week.

Despite disappointment so far over an energy deal seen as vital to both countries' long-term economic interests, Putin did receive a rare nod of support from Chinese President Xi Jinping over the Ukraine crisis.

In a statement issued after the two leaders met, Russia and China called for the de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine and for "peaceful, political ways to resolve existing problems." The countries also referred to the crisis as "domestic". Putin yet to seal gas deal on China visit, wins support on Ukraine | Reuters
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The Chinese know who they are dealing with. Just as they had researched world economic models for themselves, they are currently shopping around for a govt model to emulate and Russia is not high on that list. ***

***As per Levitt & Dubner, authors of "Think Like a Freak"
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Old 21st May 2014, 12:44
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Audio, World News May 20, 2014
LISTEN: The World In Two Minutes – May 20, 2014
Russia and China haggle over a half-billion dollar gas deal, and the US says it won't back down after indicting members of the Chinese military for cyber theft.

TRANSCRIPT: “The World in 2:00″

It’s Tuesday May 20, 2014, and time for the world in two minutes. I’m your host, Luke Vargas, reporting for Talk Radio News Service at the United Nations in New York.

Despite statements in the Russian media that a $500 billion natural gas deal with China would be signed today, Tuesday has come and gone in Beijing without a deal.

“The critical thing for me is it seems to be more of a public relations campaign on Russia’s part, rather than an actual finalization of this deal.”

Max Pyziur is a natural gas analyst with RBN Energy.

Kremlin broadcaster Russia Today described the timing of the potential deal as “almost flawless as Russia is looking to shield itself from Western sanctions,” and the same article described China as “desperately [needing] to switch from dirty coal to more environmentally friendly natural gas.”

But Pyziur does not see that sort of mutual dependency:

“Russia really needs the [Chinese] market, because its growth in the first decade of the 21st Century was predicated on increasing prices for both oil and gas, and increasing volume. In particular with gas, it’s flatlined. There’s just no prospects with the European Union or Europe, no matter how you slice it.”

“China is a very shrewd negotiator. They have time to chose, because there’s going to be a lot of supply in the market over the next five years.”




And fury in Beijing a day after a U.S. grand jury indicted five members of the chinese military for hacking into American corporate databases and stealing trade secrets. Despite calls to take back the indictment, Washington isn’t stepping down.

Here’s State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki:

“These illegal actions required, activities required action, and we’re hopeful that we can maintain a dialog with China about cyber security and a range of other issues.”

For more global news headlines, visit Talk Radio News Service |Talk Radio News Service.
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Old 21st May 2014, 13:30
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Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine
Naomi Klein The Guardian, Thursday 10 April 2014 14.12 EDT
From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine
The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security. Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine | Naomi Klein | Comment is free | The Guardian
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