Features

Rooting out corruption proves a tough job in North Macedonia

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje October 13, 2021

The Social Democrat-led government came to power pledging a vigorous and transparent fight against corruption, but tackling entrenched corruption has not been easy.

Uzbekistan’s economy bouncing back strongly, World Bank ups 2021 GDP forecast to 6.2%

Ben Aris in Berlin October 13, 2021

As one of only two major economies in the world to avoid recession last year, the Uzbek economy is recovering robustly from the coronacrisis crisis. The World Bank has increased the growth forecast to 6.2% for this year.

Familia leads Russia’s off-price retailers with knock-down high fashion offering

Ben Aris in Berlin October 12, 2021

What happens to last season’s clothing that big fashion retailers can’t sell? Landfill is not the only choice for producers. Enter off-price retailers, who buy the end-of-season surplus from top names and sell it at low prices.

China looks to Kazakh coal amid energy crisis

Almaz Kumenov for Eurasianet October 12, 2021

But how much coal Kazakhstan already sells China is a mystery, because the two sides publish different figures.

From Dutch earthquakes to a UK fracking ban: how declining European gas supply has contributed to the current crisis

bne IntelliNews October 12, 2021

There are many underlying causes behind the current gas supply crisis unfolding in Europe. A “V” shaped market has seen global gas demand surge but adding to a perfect storm is that the EU's own gas production has been plummeting.

Bosnia’s Dodik steps up RSexit rhetoric

Eldar Dizdarevic in Sarajevo October 12, 2021

Serb member of Bosnia’s presidency Milorad Dodik says Republika Srpska will withdraw its representatives from the joint armed forces, top judicial body and tax administration.

Nobel prize fight

Leonid Razgozin in Latvia October 11, 2021

In 1993, Mikhail Gorbachev spent a small portion of the money from his Nobel Prize for Peace, awarded three years prior, on eight computers requested by a modest journalistic startup. The latter grew to become the liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

Fitch: Uzbek banking sector faces increasing asset quality risks

Ben Aris in Berlin October 10, 2021

The Uzbek banking sector faces increasing asset quality risks due to rapid lending growth, high balance sheet dollarisation and an increased reliance on external funding, Fitch Ratings said in a report released on October 8.

LONG READ: The plight of Mongolia’s young herders

Antonio Graceffo & Munkhbat Norovjamts October 8, 2021

A mix of modernisation and holding on to the old ways causes many dilemmas such as a shortage of female partners for marriage on the steppes—while the girls head for the city to get educated and do not return, the boys stay behind to herd.

Vodka drinking on the decline in Russia

bne IntelIiNews October 8, 2021

Russia is a top ten global alcohol producer and has one of the highest vodka consumption levels globally: 3.5 litres per capita in 2020 of pure alcohol. But the shape of the market is also rapidly changing.

Russia’s RTS stock index breaks above 1,800 for the first time in 10 years

Ben Aris in Berlin October 8, 2021

Russia’s dollar-denominated Russia Trading System (RTS) index broke above the 1,800 mark for the first time in over a decade on October 7 to end the day at 1,854.

Czech opposition coalitions likely to need allies to oust Babis

Robert Anderson in Prague October 8, 2021

Czechs go to vote in what is set to be the closest election in a decade. The next government is likely to depend on how many and which smaller parties pass the 5% threshold to enter parliament.

How Taliban rule will either assure or doom the TAPI gas pipeline

Kanat Shaku in Almaty October 7, 2021

Afghanistan’s new rulers say the Turkmen-led mega-infrastructure investment is a “priority project”. Sceptics say that with the “nation building” impetus from the US gone, financing will be out of reach.

Pandora Papers link influential Russians to offshore havens

bne IntellIiNews October 6, 2021

The leaked files dubbed 'the Pandora Papers' reveal how wealthy Russians, many of whom are alleged to be in Putin’s inner circle, have hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore holdings.

Western Balkans falling further behind eastern EU members

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow October 6, 2021

Neither regional integration nor closer ties with EU have led to increased trade, investment or overall prosperity in the region, says a new report from wiiw and Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Threat of new EU travel restrictions looms ahead of Western Balkan summit

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow, Ben Aris in Berlin October 5, 2021

Ahead of the EU-Western Balkans summit on October 6, a leaked EU document revealed that several EU member states are seeking to restrict visa-free travel for some nationals from the region as well as other East European countries.

Russia's IPO boom

Ben Aris in Berlin October 4, 2021

Russian IPOs are back and billions of dollars have already been raised and billions more of listings are in the pipeline in the coming year. The Russian corporate story is hot again for the first time in about a decade.

Tashkent conference aims to lure new investors

Muzaffar Ismailov in Tashkent September 30, 2021

Uzbekistan showcased its reform progress at an international investment summit in Tashkent. The government has already sold off a Coca-Cola bottling business and one large bank. It plans at least two more IPOs of state-owned companies this year.

Political turmoil, COVID-19 wave subdue investors’ fundamental optimism in Romania

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest September 30, 2021

Investors share robust confidence in the Romanian economy, but the political turmoil and, to some extent the potential impact of the fourth wave of the pandemic, are toning down their optimism.

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