A combination of good luck and courage has rekindled economists’ optimism about India just as the halo surrounding Narendra Modi, its new, purportedly pro-business prime minister, is beginning to fade. Good luck has come in the form of diving oil prices, which are easing the import burden that placed India on Morgan Stanley’s “fragile five” list of particularly troubled emerging markets last year. The courage is Modi’s. He took advantage of the price cut to eliminate diesel-fuel subsidies and raise regulated natural-gas prices by a third, saving India’s beleaguered budget close to 1% of gross domestic product and untangling a major market distortion.
On September 1, with Russian troops advancing alongside separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine and the European Union promising one more round of economic sanctions against the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin took a day trip from Moscow to the wastes of Yakutia, in northeastern Siberia. The Russian president went there to celebrate the formal start of construction on the Power of Siberia natural-gas pipeline. This was no standard ribbon-cutting ceremony, though. For Putin the pipeline is an economic masterstroke that will render his country immune to what he calls blackmail by the West.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2014
What happens when a good company gets stuck in a bad — or at least decidedly out-of-favor — country? To judge by the performance of Yandex, Russia’s dominant Internet player, the country environment trumps.
Make yourself comfortable before asking scientists at NASA about the mission they work on. That is, unless they’re working on the Deep Space Climate Observatory, called DSCOVR, a satellite scheduled for launch early next year. A curious modesty surrounds any discussion about the mission; NASA’s press office dodges inquiries by passing them on to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which formally controls DSCOVR, even though the cargo-van-size spacecraft sits inside NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where dozens of NASA engineers are testing and tweaking its instruments in advance of its big day. When NASA finally allowed me to meet with a deputy project manager, he claimed to know nothing about the science those instruments will study. He’s just an operations guy.
Journalist Michael Lewis’s polemic against high frequency trading, Flash Boys, has spurredheightened scrutiny of the practice and debate about increased regulation across the financial world, but not everywhere. Some emerging markets are still keen on expanding HFT as a key to increasing trading volume and innovation, and nothing that Lewis found out has fazed them.
APRIL 28, 2014
President Vladimir Putin seized Crimea with forces loyal to him barely firing a shot in the process. He also faces little armed resistance in eastern Ukraine, at least so far, as he seeks to foment instability in the region, possibly as a pretext for carving off more of his southern neighbor. Yet the Russian president does confront opposition of an unconventional and asymmetrical kind. The battle for Ukraine marks a new frontier in international conflict, one in which capital flows — not tanks or planes — are the West’s strongest weapon.
APRIL 03, 2014
Obama’s Warning Shot: Sanctions Against Putin-Connected Bank
Since Russia’s March takeover of Crimea, critics have accused Obama and other Western leaders of ineffectual policy. But the sanctions hit a bull’s-eye.
Reaping Ukraine’s Agricultural Bounty Will Be Tough
Farming exports could offer some hope amid Ukraine’s troubles with Russia, but red tape and lack of foreign capital present obstacles. Avangardco's Oleg Bakhmatyuk believes deep foreign pockets are the answer.
FEB. 27, 2014
Investors see little reason to get excited about most Russian stocks these days. The dollar-denominated Russian Trading System index has fallen 14 percent over the past year, more than the 9 percent decline in emerging markets generally. The country’s economic growth slowed to 1.3 percent annually in 2013, according to the World Bank, down from 3.4 percent in 2012. Russia’s own Ministry of Economic Development slashed long-term growth projections last November, to an average 2.5 percent a year between now and 2030.
Overseas Supply Chains: What You Don’t Know May Hurt You
Third Quarter 2012
Corporate Board Member
by Craig Mellow
Apple Inc. has no ownership stake in Foxconn, the giant contract electronics manufacturer with headquarters in Taiwan, no seat on the board, and no formal say over Foxconn’s labor policies. Yet Foxconn’s mounting public relations problems over the past two years have become Apple’s problems, nonetheless.