Some of the world’s largest multinational companies will scale back operations in Russia unless the business environment improves as sanctions, low oil prices and volatile public policy unsettle even the most experienced international investors. After 18 tumultuous months during which the country has been hit by trade embargoes alongside a plummeting oil price and currency, Russia faces a “critical fork in the road” with more groups likely to step back from the market, says advisory group Global Counsel.
The Foreign Investment Advisory Council members — companies like Carlsberg, BP, Siemens and Ford that are among the oldest and largest investors in Russia — are unlikely to pull back from the country. But they may not be willing to endure a downturn for ever. Global Counsel, a Britain-based advisory group, said on Monday that some of the biggest foreign investors in Russia could curtail their activities in the country if economic conditions did not stabilize during the coming 18 months.
The SNP could use Conservative plans for “English votes for English laws” to demand another referendum on Scottish independence, former chief economist to the Foreign Office Gregor Irwin has said.
In an analysis for Global Counsel consultancy, he added: “The Nationalists have said they will not call a second referendum . . . unless there has been a ‘material change’ to justify this.
Despite the economic and currency crisis engulfing Ukraine, by 7 o’clock in the evening the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) is virtually empty. But as the majority of its 12,000 employees head home, lights remain on in a few offices and footsteps echo through dark hallways as a small group of reform-minded individuals arrive for their unofficial night shift. To paraphrase the old line about the Indian economy, at the National Bank of Ukraine reform happens in the night while the government sleeps.
Jakarta is often called the world’s Twitter capital. Its digital citizens generate more tweets than any other city worldwide. Twitter has prioritised Indonesia as a key growth market and their executives take pride in quoting a McKinsey research paper that shows a 10 per cent increase in the number of internet users in a country leads to a 1 per cent rise in that country’s GDP growth.
But the relationship between social media buzz and economic prosperity is far from linear in Indonesia.
“I have vowed never to use the overused phrase 'Africa Rising' ever again, having long been somewhat cautious of the integrity of the projected growth rates and prospects for inclusive prosperity. However, the commodity-driven stellar growth narrative is now being subverted by the oil price collapse. I spoke to Matthew Duhan, adviser at Global Counsel, who says "for Africa's oil and gas hopefuls - those with big investment plans in the energy sector which are not yet producing - the fall in the price of oil is a serious threat to their aspirations.”
The European Court of Justice recently ruled in favour of Sweden's right to refuse a Finnish wind farm operator access to its green certificate scheme, even though the power generated was going into its national grid.
In a paper prompted by the ruling, Global Counsel proposed that it would open the door for a more protectionist approach by member states. It said: "The ECJ has provided member states with a powerful legal tool with which to control the pace of the 'Europeanisation' of renewable energy and the broader electricity market."
The over-65s could vote Britain out of the European Union even though most people under 35 want to stay in, according to a survey published on Monday. The survey of 1,200 people was conducted by TNS for Global Counsel.
Stephen Adams, a partner at Global Counsel, said: "A quintessential British Eurosceptic might be said to be a man over 55, probably from a working or lower middle class background, living in the South East of England and no longer in full time employment."
On the 18th September 2014 Scotland will hold a referendum on the single question "Should Scotland become an independent country?"
Whatever the outcome, a report from Global Counsel warns businesses that the outcome could have both direct impacts - such as the fiscal regime for the oil and gas industry, but also indirect impacts on business through changes in the commercial operating environment - access to the EU single market, currency, and regulatory regimes.
The reason why a Grand Coalition is the most likely option is that support for the FDP has been withering among German voters and the FDP recently lost in Bavaria's regional elections, where they were trounced by Merkel's Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
Stephen Adams, a partner at London-based political consultancy Global Counsel and an expert on Germany, agrees that a Grand Coalition is the most likely outcome of voting on the 22 September.
However, he thinks that a coalition between the Green Party and Merkel's CDU is the second most likely option after a Grand Coalition between the CDU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Germany's main left-wing party.