Robert M. Cutler

Archives for Economy & Finance

With moderate fanfare, yet another multilateral economic cooperation agreement was signed among a limited number of the Soviet successor states this month, in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed up to a customs union in the margin of a meeting of the EurAsian Economic Community (EurAsEC), which also counts Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as members.

Posted by Robert Cutler

Petroleum Industry Review: In your opinion, how will the international energy market change, given the high energy demand (in the EU and the U.S. energy consumption increased by more than 40% since 1970, in Japan it doubled and in China it is more than four times higher) but also the decrease of the world hydrocarbons resources? What is your opinion concerning alternative energy sources? Is renewable energy a solution for the world economy during this time of crisis? Is it a solution for the future?

Posted by Robert Cutler

As you know, Europeans with an interest in energy affairs get very excited when discussing the source of the gas they’ll in 5-10 years. Especially in Italy, where Berlusconi’s center-right government is openly defying EU policy on the matter and nurturing very close ties to Russia, the debate tends to be quite heated and often partisan. We would like then to here the view of an informed and independent outsider on this.

Posted by Robert Cutler

In Brussels Fiddles While Athens Strikes seven weeks ago, the Neronic allusion was intended half in irony, half as warning: This week Athens burned; and it is not yet even summer, the season known in southern Europe for wildfires.

Posted by Robert Cutler

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

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