A New Policy to Rescue Ukraine

The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and Europe for its interventions in Ukraine have worked much faster and inflicted much more damage on the Russian economy than anybody could have expected. The sanctions sought to deny Russian banks and companies access to the international capital markets. The increased damage is largely due to a sharp decline in the price of oil, without which the sanctions would have been much less effective. Russia needs oil prices to be around $100 a barrel in order to balance its budget. (It is now around $55 a barrel.) The combination of lower oil prices and sanctions has pushed Russia into a financial crisis that is by some measures already comparable to the one in 1998.

More bad news for Putin: Russia’s banks need to be bailed out now

18 December, 2014

Matt O’Brien
It turns out that having your economy entirely based on oil is a bad idea.

All it takes, as Russia is finding out, is for oil prices to unexpectedly drop, and you’re left with an economic crisis that turns into a currency crisis that morphs into a financial crisis — which, of course, only makes the economic crisis even worse. It’s a cycle of doom that’s hard to stop, no matter how vehemently you insist that your “bear” won’t let itself become a “stuffed animal” by having its “fangs and claws” torn out. (That was how Vladimir Putin put it during his annual press-conference-as-performance-art on Thursday).

Putin Stands Defiant Despite Falling Oil Prices

Friday, October 17, 2014

By Hitesh Hathi

There are reports of progress today at Europe-brokered talks between Ukraine and Russia on a key issue: the supply of Russian gas to Ukraine during the winter.

The talks coincide with sharply falling oil prices. The price of Brent crude, which serves as a benchmark, has fallen about 25 percent since June, from about $115 a barrel to about $86 today.


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