Category Archives: Views

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

WEAFER COMMENT: A Bellerophonic Message

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at ING in Moscow. There continues to be only one key event in global markets and that is the US debt deal. As this note goes out, there is optimism that a deal will be reached either this evening or tomorrow. That should allow for a modest relief rally in… Continue Reading

Equity fund flows: Investors remain optimistic and sidelined

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at ING in Moscow. The total volume of money invested into emerging market (EM) funds last week was relatively low, even for midsummer, as investors prudently remained on the sidelines while waiting for a resolution of the US debt talks. But, although low, the net flow remained positive as a… Continue Reading

Russia’s AMT Bank struck off

By Andrei Skvarsky. Moscow’s AMT Bank, until 2009 co-owned by major Kazakh lender BTA, has had its licence annulled by Russia’s Central Bank with effect from today. AMT has been failing to comply with “federal laws regulating banking activities” and presenting false accounts, the Central Bank said in a statement. UniCredit analyst Rustam Botashev said… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN SACHS COMMENT: Who would you want in EMU?

 By Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Western sovereign debt issues rolled on again last week, with fierce competition between the US and the Euro Area for attention. As President Obama and Congress struggle to reach a budget compromise ahead of the debt ceiling deadline, two ratingagencies made it clear that failure to make… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN SACHS COMMENT: A messy start to July

By Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Just when it seemed things were shifting back to the optimists’ camp, Friday’s news about the state of the world threw another spanner in the works. In addition to a very disappointing US nonfarm payrolls report, Italy came into the spotlight in the European crisis. Subsequently, the earliest of the June… Continue Reading

GUEST COMMENT: Khodorkovsky Trial Exposes Reform Progress

By James Beadle from Since 2003 former Yukos executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev have been incarcerated in Russia on charges of tax evasion. At present, as their eight year stint enters its final stages, the two are on trial once more, charged with stealing millions of tonnes of oil (reputedly the same oil… Continue Reading

Fund Flows: Sentiment is Finely (Dangerously) Balanced

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at UralSib Capital Waiting for clarity. Fund investors appear to have taken a sanguine view of global market volatility over the past week. They have remained largely on the sidelines while waiting for a clearer picture to emerge. According to the data supplied by EPFR Global, in the week ended… Continue Reading