Analysts in Thailand say that the country could lose next year up to $1.5 billion, or about 0.5 percent of its GDP, over a fall in the number of Russian tourists. This would be the case if the number of Russian holidaymakers shrinks by 30 percent compared to the number this year due to the falling ruble, the National News Bureau of Thailand said. The drop in the ruble would have little effect on Thailand’s trade as exports to Russia last year amounted to 0.5 percent of export revenues, and imports from Russia accounted for 1.4 percent of the country’s imports.
South Stream Transportation has informed its partners of the suspension of the South Stream gas pipeline construction, Vedomosti daily reported on Friday. In the beginning of December, the company delayed sending of Castoro Sei ship, and now contracts on new pipes and construction materials have been frozen, sources say. Representatives of OMK and Europipe companies, which are producing pipes for the project, have yet to confirm the suspension of contracts.
The global price of crude has risen for a second day. Oil’s plunge to a five-year low may have been excessive according to statements cited by Bloomberg. Brent oil gained as much as 4.1 percent before paring gains, and trading volatility for both Brent and West Texas Intermediate increased to a four-year high. “The market is dramatically oversold and it needs a correction,” said Tom Finlon, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics.
A capital amnesty is not about its return to Russia but rather of its legalization, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday. Russia is not planning the volume of such funds, he said. The issue is in legalization, he said. “If business wants to leave money, property abroad, let them do it,” he said. Putin earlier proposed a total amnesty for all funds returning to Russia.
Russia’s gas flows could go from Turkey via Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary to Austria’s Baumgarten, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday. The fate of a gas hub on the border between Turkey and Greece, which was announced earlier, depends on Europe’s position, Putin said during his traditional end-of-year press conference. The president said that Russia’s gas supplies are the cheapest and most reliable, and will remain so in the near future.
Russia’s GDP grew 0.6-0.7 percent over the past 10 months, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. The federal budget will post a surplus of 1.9 percent of GDP in 2014, he said at the 10th annual major news conference. He specified that growth of agricultural sector in the current year will be 3.3 percent, TASS reported.
Bank of England policymakers said oil prices had fallen much more sharply than they expected in November. Inflation is likely to fall below 1 percent in December – far below its 2 percent target, Reuters reported. It was likely to stay lower than previously thought. The minutes of the BoE Monetary Policy Committee’s Dec. 3-4 meeting, released Wednesday, showed the majority thought the weak outlook for inflation warranted keeping interest rates on hold at a record low 0.5 percent.