The UzRoadShow continues today with a full state visit to Germany by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, capping off a week of summits and meetings that resulted in €4bn worth of deals. bne IntelliNews’ Mark van Loon met with two funds that are now offering exposure to investors. Its very early days, but Uzbekistan has a lot of potential and the country is hot.
The president of Turkey, a former investors’ darling, decided the way to fix the country’s self inflicted crisis is to take even more power. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been given emergency powers granting him broad authority to act when the country’s financial stability is seen as under threat. The economy is recovering from last summer’s currency meltdown, but is mired in a deep recession according to some.
Iran has got itself into a fresh diplomatic spat, this time refusing to issue tourist visas to Poles following a row over Poland agreeing to jointly host with the US what Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has described as a “desperate anti-Iran circus” at an upcoming conference.
In a moving spectacle, some 45,000 people bid their final farewell to murdered Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz. In the increasingly toxic domestic politics, Adamowicz was a liberal voice of tolerance and critical of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. His death will reverberate on Polish politics.
In business news things are a little less dark. While Turkey grapples with the economic fallout from last summer, the leading bank, state-owned lender Halkbank, has received approval from the Capital Markets Board (SPK) to issue up to $2bn worth of subordinated bonds abroad, which may be a more concrete sign of the country’s recovery.
In Montenegro the struggling Atlas Bank has announced an invitation to its shareholders to subscribe for new shares worth €22mn, seeking to increase its capital and resume normal operations. Last year saw a big bank clean up in the region led by the EBRD and now Montenegro is getting in on the act.
Some good news from Russia that is now sporting a triple surplus again — trade, current account, federal budget — as it turned in a record current account surplus of $144bn. That is despite oil prices being half what they were in the boom years. The slowdown has forced the government to focus on efficiency and curbing the endemic corruption that means Russia Inc is more profitable now than it was in the noughties.
While there are concerns that real incomes are not as high as official figures suggest, Russian e-commerce continues to boom. No less than 39mn buyers and 22mn sellers — both companies (B2C) and individuals (C2C) — are involved in Russian social commerce, according to a study released last month by Internet giant Yandex.Checkout and Data Insight. Social media now accounts for no less than 40% of total e-commerce. Check out our new tech section on the home page for more stories like this.
Having earned a paltry $6.3mn in 2018 from privatisation after the sale of the sexiest companies was cancelled yet again, the Ukrainian government has shortened the privatisation list to 16 names and will have another go this year. Top of the list is a controlling stake in state power producer Centrenergo that supplies the capital with energy.-
The December issue of bne IntelliNews' flagship magazine is out. Top story is an investigation into the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis's forestry business. Read it here. Subscribe to get it for free each month here.
Don't miss issue #6 of bneTech that covers TMT, blockchain and cryptocurrencies in CEE. Read it here or sign up to get it by email here. (If you are in Russia/China and have trouble with the form read it with the opera.com browser, which has a built in VPN.