New Iranian parliament under sway of “principalists” elects ex-Guards commander as speaker

bne IntelIiNews May 28, 2020

Some critics see the 58-year-old as renowned for "changing direction and sides with the wind". New composition of lawmakers could block programme of moderate, pragmatic president Rouhani.

For first time Turkey’s LNG imports outstrip pipeline gas imports

bne IntelIiNews May 28, 2020

Gas delivered via pipelines from Russia and Iran down 72% y/y and 33% y/y in March. US expanding shipments of liquefied natural gas amid glut as spot prices fall.

A third of Russians believe that the danger of the coronavirus epidemic is exaggerated or a fiction

bne IntelliNews May 28, 2020

A third of Russians (32.8%) believe that the danger of the coronavirus epidemic is exaggerated, or they consider it to be an invention of interested parties, according to a study conducted by the Higher School of Economics (HSE).

Poland announces major easing of coronavirus restrictions

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw May 27, 2020

PM Mateusz Morawiecki says Poland has controlled the pandemic much more effectively than some of the world's richest countries, as he relaxes restrictions on shops, restaurants and public gatherings.

Tajikistan: Arrests spark fresh unrest in Pamirs

Eurasianet May 27, 2020

Government troops are rumoured to have been dispatched to quell the trouble.

Obtained records ‘show Azerbaijan foreign minister’s son bought lavish Trump Place apartments in Manhattan’

bne IntelIiNews May 27, 2020

Report says “it is not clear how” young Emin Mammadyarov could pay huge sums for luxury units.

Romania to break nuke plant expansion agreement with Chinese partner

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 27, 2020

State-controlled nuclear energy producer Nuclearelectrica will begin talks to terminate the agreement signed with China's CGN on the construction of two new reactors at the Cernavoda.

Tensions between Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia rise over closed borders

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 26, 2020

After declaring itself coronavirus free, Montenegro plans to open its borders — but not to neighbours Serbia or Bosnia, which claim the decision is linked to the dispute between the government in Podgorica and the Serbian Orthodox church.

Belarus president seeks government reshuffle before August election

bne IntelliNews May 26, 2020

Belarusian President Lukashenko is seeking to reshuffle his government on eve of August election

Russian policy veteran Kudrin urges seizing of the COVID moment for visionary reform

bne IntelliNews May 26, 2020

The head of Russia's Audit Chamber Alexei Kudrin has published an oped laying out his vision of the state anti-crisis policy amid the coronavirus epidemic.

No intervention from US as Iranian fuel relief tanker docks in Venezuela

bne IntelIiNews May 25, 2020

Venezuelan state TV airs pictures of officials celebrating arrival. Four more tankers still en route. Trump official slams “Maduro's expensive deals with another pariah state".

Montenegro declares itself a coronavirus-free state

bne IntelliNews May 25, 2020

Just 324 cases reported in tiny Balkan state during pandemic, as Podgorica imposed strict preemptive lockdown. New economic support package now planned.

Armenia ‘has just 26 intensive care beds left for COVID-19 patients'

bne IntelIiNews May 25, 2020

Officials ended lockdown as poor country’s fears of economic damage mounted but they now have a second surge of infections on their hands.

Moldovan PM alienates closest EU ally with Facebook corruption claim

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 25, 2020

Ion Chicu writes on social media platform that Romania is Europe's most corrupt country and slams Bucharest’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic at a moment when Chisinau already risks losing EU funding.

Russia’s leading petrochemical company Sibur raises $208mn with bonds issue at record low yields

bne IntelliNews May 22, 2020

Russia’s leading petrochemical producer Sibur Holding successfully closed the order book for its BO-01 and BO-02 exchange-traded bond issues, worth RUB10bn ($139mn) and RUB5bn ($69mn) respectively, the company announced on May 21.

Chechen strongman Kadyrov admitted to hospital with coronavirus

bne IntelliNews May 22, 2020

The leader of Chechnya and one of the most controversial figures in Russian politics, Ramzan Kadyrov, has reportedly been admitted to “one of the best hospitals in Moscow” after he was believed to be infected with the coronavirus

Ukraine secures agreement with IMF over new $5bn, 18-month programme

bne IntelliNews May 22, 2020

The International Monetary Fund signed off on a new staff level 18-month Stand-by Arrangement with Ukraine on the same day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed the new anti-Kolomoisky banking bill into law.

Turkey ‘treads carefully’ as benchmark rate is cut by 50bp

bne IntelIiNews May 21, 2020

Easing comes on back of some stabilisation in the embattled lira but markets remain concerned by country’s lack of FX reserves.

US ire on horizon as Venezuelan navy told to escort Iranian tankers bringing fuel relief

bne IntelIiNews May 21, 2020

White House officials loathe to see one Trump-sanctioned nation coming to the assistance of another, especially in a presidential election year.

Russia's finance ministry places $2.4bn of OFZ bonds, 2020 sales tip over $14bn

bne IntelliNews May 21, 2020

Russia's finance ministry continued to place record-high volumes of OFZ bonds on weekly auctions, selling RUB170bn ($2.4bn) worth of federal bonds in three issues at a total demand of over RUB230bn ($3.2bn) this week.