From Russia With Love
Eyes turn to Russia. Its annual Economic Forum is underway in the city of St. Petersburg. Known as SPIEF, the event presents a chance for Russia to broadcast its bull case for investment and assert its economic place in the world. Over 17,000 attendees are expected, including major fund managers, reps from some of the biggest American blue-chips, and thousands more investors.
The country is 3 years clear of its last recession, but growth is slowing. The country is being caught in the crossfire of US-China trade disputes, and some Russian finance ministers have even halved their growth projections amid pressure on the Central Bank to drop interest rates. All this, plus UN sanctions which continue to be a stone in Putin’s shoe, creates a need for foreign investment.
In recent years, that foreign investment has been led by the United States. However, there’s not a single member of a US delegation in St. Petersburg this weekend due to boycotting. Not to worry, Putin has wasted no time chumming up with President Xi of China, going as far as to call him his “best friend.”
In a world of nationalism and narrowing cooperation, both leaders want to seize this opportunity and put pen to paper on some deals. After lengthy conversations before this event, the pair sat down again for an informal dinner last night. We await Trump’s reaction.
In any case, don’t count the US out. Expect to hear comments from the likes of Coca-Cola, Boeing, and other US blue-chips about the prospect of investing in Russia. The hosts are sharing a welcoming tone with the West this year, hoping those listed on our major stock exchanges will consider taking their business to Russia.
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