Category Archives: Views

Investors should avoid Russia’s oil and gas sector – Wermuth

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s oil and gas sector would be the wrong choice for an investor these days, according to Dieter Wermuth, chief economist at Wermuth Asset Management, a Russia-focused German fund manager. With global economic growth slowing down significantly, a world oil price that has quintupled since 2003 makes no sense economically and mainly… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN COMMENT: Europe Needs Growth, not More Austerity

Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management Late Friday, the S&P finally followed through with their early December 2011 threat and downgraded a number of European countries’ credit rating, including Austria and France, who lost their AAA status. This threat had been hanging  over the markets ever since the last EU Summit and, at least… Continue Reading

Houlihan Lokey is expanding its M&A team

Steven Tishman has joined Houlihan Lokey as Global Head of M&A. Previously Steven was co-head of U.S. M&A at Rothschild. Houlihan Lokey, one of the largest global private investment banks is currently taking steps to actively expand its services in Eastern Europe and the CIS. It currently covers these regions from European offices and have already completed several high-profile mandates in Russia, Kazakhstan and Eastern… Continue Reading

Some BRICs Built But More Still Needed

Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 30 is the tenth anniversary of when I first mentioned the BRIC acronym when I published GS Global Economics Paper No: 66, “Building Better Global Economic BRICs.” As I am sure a number of readers now know, I am publishing a book to celebrate the… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Medvedev raises spectre of new cold war as popularity fades

By Eugene Kasevin. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has kicked off his own little Cold War just in time for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The move will be widely perceived as rhetorical shot across the bows of the US administration which is planning to build a missile-defense system in Europe. It also serves a rallying cry… Continue Reading

RENCAP COMMENT: Time for a Bolder Central Bank of Russia

By Ivan Tcharkarov,  Chief Economist for Russia and the CIS at Renaissance Capital. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) needs to cut rates to support economic growth. We have been very complimentary about the CBR’s newly adopted policy stance to allow more exchange rate flexibility, in an attempt to help cushion the economy from external shocks… Continue Reading

VTB to heavily benefit from Sechin’s privatisation initiative

 By Andrei Skvarsky. State-owned bank VTB would benefit seriously during its planned partial privatisation from a share pricing measure proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, Renaissance Capital analysts argue. Sechin last week proposed an amendment to the 2011-2013 privatisation programme to ensure that the starting price of a state company in any privatisation deal should not be lower… Continue Reading

WEAFER COMMENT: Investment Dichotomy

By Chris Weager, Chief Strategist at Troika Dialog. “Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life” Pablo Picasso A right mess. The dominant issues affecting all global markets this week will again be the ongoing efforts to contain the euro zone debt crisis and news that the US Congress has failed to agree measures to… Continue Reading

INTERVIEW: Raiffeisen staying the course in Russia

By Andrei Skvarsky. Raiffeisen has no plans to follow its European counterparts by retreating from or retrenching in Russia, the Austrian lender’s top spokesman, Michael Palzer, tells AS: Russia’s Sberbank is said to be eyeing the Russian assets of crisis-hit European banks, hoping to buy them cheaply. Has it offered to buy your Russian subsidiary?… Continue Reading

WEAFER COMMENT: Big Boost for EM and for Russia

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at Troika Dialog.  The weekly equity funds flow report from EPFR Global showed a big jump in new investment into emerging market funds for the week ended Wednesday. A total of $3.5 bln was invested into all EM funds compared to $1.0 bln the week before. Russia dedicated funds reported… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Russia and the WTO

By Daniel Salter, Head of EMEA Equity Strategy at UniCredit Securities. Russia is by far the largest global economy outside the WTO. Entry negotiations have been going on for eighteen years, since Russia applied to join the WTO’s predecessor, GATT, in 1993. However, after numerous false starts, progress appears to have accelerated recently – we… Continue Reading

Micex-RTS merger wins 'deal of the year' prize

By Andrei Skvarsky. Micex and RTS, Russia’s two key stock exchanges, have won a prize from a Russian business magazine for their current merger, a $1bn deal to be closed on December 19. The Kompaniya weekly declared the two exchanges winners of the company of the year prize in the deal of the year category, according to statements from… Continue Reading

KRAUS COMMENT: The Twilight of the West

By Eric Kraus, author of the Truth and Beauty (and Russian Finance). The good news is that we have a ringside seat for the decline of the West… the bad news – we are inside the ring! The miserable thing about being a seer is that when you get it right – no one remembers… Continue Reading

UKRAINE COMMENT: Muted response by markets to Tymoshenko sentence

Arthur McCallum  Arthur McCallum, Head of Strategy at Eavex Capital. The October 11 sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in jail and a fine of UAH 1.5bn (USD 188mn) for abuse of power has caused quite a stir internationally. We maintain our view that the escalation of the Tymoshenko situation is a reflection of… Continue Reading

KRAUS COMMENT: The Eternal Russia – The Eternal Return

By Eric Kraus, author of Truth and Beauty (and Russian Finance). The major story is, of course, the return of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency – an outcome which we always thought likely given that Medvedev seemed a deeply counterintuitive choice for the Russian presidency. Totally lacking in charisma and with no experience of… Continue Reading

Who is Russia's finance minister Anton Siluanov ?

 By Andrei Skvarksy. Anton Siluanov was a low-profile career civil servant before being named last week as Russian interim finance minister to replace Alexei Kudrin, to whom he had been a deputy for several years. Although Siluanov is not expected to continue beyond the lifetime of this government, there is an expectation as he tries… Continue Reading

Kudrin depature to rupture Russian investment case

By Ivan Anderzhanov and Eugene Kasevin. Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin‘s statement that he is unwilling to work in a future Russian government after the presidential elections will dent investor confidence in the country’s fiscal discipline. Kudrin yesterday ruled himself out of working in the next government, if President Dmitry Medvedev becomes premier, following Vladimir… Continue Reading

WEAFER COMMENT: Moscow, twinned with Cushing

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at Troika Dialog. On the face of it, there is little in common between the Russian capital, population 11.5 mln, and Cushing, Oklahoma, population 8,400. But they do have one important factor in common; Cushing is where the price of WTI is fixed, and over the past six months, the… Continue Reading

The Brits are fast fading in Russia as PM Cameron arrives

By Andrei Skvarsky. British banks HSBC and Barclays, along with oil major BP, are fading from Russia just as UK Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in Moscow on Monday to try to reverse a nadir in British-Russian relations. HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, has shut its modest Russian retail network after committing $200m for building it… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN COMMENT: Swissy never lies

By Jim O’Neil, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. In the context of the ongoing challenges in the US, the Euro Area and elsewhere, this week I have chosen to focus on the Swiss Franc currency. Throughout the market mayhem of August, and its subsequent carry over into the start of September, the Swiss Franc… Continue Reading

WEAFER COMMENT: New month – new hope

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at Troika Dialog. Equity markets look set to extend recent gains after another positive session in the US and broadly based gains across Asia this morning. However, after such a strong run into the end of August, investors will likely adopt a more cautious approach until the important economic indicators,… Continue Reading

EBRD attracts SRI lender to Russian market for first time

By Marcus Williams. An EBRD loan for Russia’s Transcapitalbank marks the first time an institution with a specific mandate to act as a socially responsible lender is participating as a co-financier to raise funds for a Russian borrower. To date, the EBRD’s partners in such transactions have traditionally been commercial banks, according to a statement from the… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Wermuth fund manager Winsell Davies quits for Metropol role

John Winsell Davies By Ivan Anderzhnov. John Winsell Davies has quit Wermuth Asset Management and has started offering  his ”consulting services” to Metropol. Winsell Davies will work closely with Hawk Sunshine, who switched from a senior investment banking role at Metropol last year to managing director of fund management. Winsell Davies, a Russia veteran with… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN COMMENT: Looking through the fog

By Jim O’Neil, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. In the past week, we have experienced remarkable turmoil in financial markets, which have brought back memories for many people of the darkest days of late 2008. Are direct parallels to 2008 valid ? Many other questions also come to mind.  Are current market valuation levels… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Cruel, cruel summer: Screening Emerging Europe

By Daniel Salter, Chief Strategist at UniCredit Securities. If this is a “normal” mid-cycle market correction, markets could soon start to find a bottom, with the S&P 18% off since its cycle high (in line with the median of fourteen 10%+ downturns for the S&P since 1975). However, if recent events (including the heated debate… Continue Reading

Kazakhstani banking: Accelerated lending coupled with jump in NPLs

By Rustam Botashev, Deputy Head of Research at UniCredit Securities. Kazakhstan’s bank supervisory committee has published 6M11 banking statistics, showing accelerating loan growth on the backdrop of deteriorating asset quality. We reiterate our Buy recommendations for Halyk Bank (12M TP of USD 14.3) and Kazkommertsbank (USD 9.6). Lending in Kazakhstan accelerated in June, with 1.3%… Continue Reading

Evrofinance Capital asks state to halt Micex-RTS merger

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Evrofinance Capital, a Micex minority shareholder, has asked for an official order to reverse the merger of Russia’s biggest stock exchange with the RTS bourse.   The merger will be damaging to Micex, its shareholders, the Russian financial markets and the country as a whole if based on the current scenario,… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Yevgeny Kogan of Moscow Partners

 By Andrei Skvarsky. Yevgeny Kogan, president of the Moscow Partners investment boutique and a former senior partner at Russian wealth management firm Third Rome, talks to about his company’s history, current business and plans. Yevgeny, what is your role in the company, which you and Igor Moryakov have founded as partners?  It may be… Continue Reading