Robert M. Cutler

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Bubbles mount in China

Concern continues to mount over a property bubble in China in the near term. Whereas earlier this year economic observers were suggesting that a bubble might burst in one to three years, the overdrive of the Chinese economic recovery has led BNP Paribas, for example, to warn of a 20% fall in real estate prices in the second half of the year. Bloomberg News this week quotes the head of Citigroup’s global head of real estate Thomas Flexner as calling the bubble in the Chinese housing market “very real”.

Posted by Robert Cutler

Two events coincided this week to point towards further complications in Euro-Caspian energy geo-economics. Azerbaijan has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Georgia and Romania to promote liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation across the Black Sea, and has separately announced the possibility of postponing a decision on the start-up of production from the offshore Shah Deniz Two natural gas field until 2017 (press reports cite various years from 2016 to 2018).

Posted by Robert Cutler

Complicating Cyprus

The election of Derviş Eroğlu as president in northern Cyprus complicates Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, as well as the already thorny negotiations over the island republic’s reunification.

Posted by Robert Cutler

Ukraine’s new government, formed by President Viktor Yanukovych after he was inaugurated in March, this week affirmed that the country’s gas transportation network is for sale to no one, including Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. At the same time, Russia has made it clear that it is willing to cooperate with the European Union in any project to modernize the network, which includes more than 60,000 kilometers of pipe plus 71 compressed air plants and 13 underground gas storage facilities. Last year, it carried over three-quarters of natural gas exports from Russia to Europe.

Posted by Robert Cutler