Europe/Middle East

  • Greece is back on the global front burner with a new bailout package.

    Greece was Off the Front Burner

    Greece had been a dominant issue for investors for much of the first seven months of the year.  The seemingly reversal by Greek Prime Minister Tsipras allowed Greece to move off the front burner.  China stepped up to replace Greece as a key issue for investors.  First, it was the slide in the Chinese share prices, and as stocks appeared to stabilize, officials altered the currency regime.

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  • Third time's a charm for Greece.

    Déjà vu: More Bailouts for Greece

    Greece’s third bailout package is on its way for delivery. The new rescue package of $95bn stands debated in the German parliament and is up for a vote before August 20. While the IMF stands aloof amongst all this upheaval, global reception to the third bailout package has not been good.

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  • Annexing part of the Arctic would give Russia access to new oil and gas.

    A Larger Russia Means Additional Oil and Gas Potential

    The United States Geological Survey has estimated that the Arctic regions contain around 130 billion barrels of liquids and 47 trillion cubic metres of gas, equivalent to 22% of the world’s undiscovered hydrocarbon resources. It is hardly surprising then that all the countries whose coasts encircle the region, the US, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia, have made claims on territory outside of the clear boundary for each, which stretches 200 nautical miles from their shoreline.

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  • The Saudi's are reducing oil price hikes in Asia to preserve market share.

    Drowning in a Strategy

    Saudi Arabia has long enjoyed the status of being the top crude oil exporter in the world. With record production of 10.564 million barrels per day in June 2015, Saudi Arabia has been one of the major driving forces behind the current oil price slump.

    The Saudis have kept their production levels high since last year in order to drive other players (especially U.S. shale drillers) out of business. Equally clear is the fact that this strategy of maintaining the glut and driving out rivals has not worked so far.

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  • The value of Iran's frozen assets depends on whom you ask.

    The Exact Amount of Iran's Usable Funds Proves Elusive

    The value and planned release of Iran’s frozen foreign assets have become hot political topics in both Tehran and Western capitals.  Yet few observers, it seems, have a clear idea how much is likely to be released because of the nuclear deal, and political motivations of one kind or another seem to be behind the varying estimates.

    Conflicting accounts

    Inside Iran, there have been several conflicting statements about the total volume of these funds ever since the announcement of the historic nuclear deal with the West on July 14.

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  • Now investors get the BOE minutes with the decision.

    The MPC's Big Day at the BOE

    The main event of the day is the start of a new era at the Bank of England.  Until now, at the conclusion of the MPC meeting, the decision would be announced, but no press conference was typically held.  A few weeks later the minutes would be released, and the vote revealed.  Starting today, the minutes will be released simultaneously with the decision.  Also today, at the same time, the Bank of England will release its inflation report, which contains it economic forecasts Less than an hour later Governor Carney will hold a press conference. 

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  • Next week's Greek government may or may not look like today's.

    What will the Greek Government Look Like on Monday?

    The capitulation of Greek Prime Minister Tsipras to the demands of the official creditors has split the Syriza coalition.  About a quarter of the party refused to make the apparent U-turn with the Prime Minister.  Those that were part of the cabinet have been replaced.  However, they retain their seats in parliament, and apparently obstructing the government's efforts. 

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  • Observers are taking a fascination with Varoufakis' plan B for Greece.

    Greece's 'Plan B' Details Emerge

    Observers have taken an almost prurient fascination with some sketchy details of the contingency plans then Finance Minister Varoufakis had developed for Greece if forced to leave the monetary union.  They are hardly surprising in substance.

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  • To win a price war against Asian competitors, Saudi Arabia can just wait.

    Saudi Arabia Waits out the Competition

    The undisputed king of oil and gas is making some moves that could change the face of the global refining sector.

    In June 2015, Saudi Arabia pumped a record 10.564 million barrels a day. As if being the world's biggest exporter of oil was not enough, the desert kingdom is now looking to conquer the refining sector, as it has quickly become the fourth largest refiner in the world.

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  • The new UK government is unraveling its energy policy.

    Confounding Decisions on Combatting Climate Change by the UK Government

    The new Conservative government is letting slip its commitments to renewable energy and climate change mitigation. The bad decisions keep coming, and do not add up to a policy strategy consistent with the UK’s emissions and efficiency targets, and more generally with fighting climate change.

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