Archive | February, 2014
Janet Yellen (credit: Economic Policy Journal)

Fed debates changing forward guidance

The quickly falling US unemployment rate has caused the Federal Reserve to reevaluate how it communicates when it will raise interest rates. Recently released minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting showed that committee members disagree about the best way to communicate future policy as US unemployment has fallen close to their threshold for […]

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Source: Ivan Bandura via Flickr

Ukraine remains caught in tug-of-war between Russia and West

Ukraine could be on the brink of a wide-scale conflict that threatens to destabilize the region and worsen relations between Russia and the West. Ukraine is going through the worst political crisis since the country gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The first protest, which started in November over President […]

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Togliatti, Russia; Source: ShinePhantom via Wikipedia

Russia’s single-industry cities pose risk to economy

The issue of failing monogoroda, or single-industry cities, is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing economic issues and sources of political risk within the Russian Federation. The Russian government defines single-industry cities as urban areas in which at least 25% of residents are employed by a single facility. These cities were created during of […]

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Source: Moscow Times/

Corruption remains key reason for Russian economy’s stagnation

Corruption is widespread throughout the executive, legislative and judicial branches at all levels of the Russian government. The Russian authorities recognise that corruption is a major problem and have implemented a number of measures to combat this issue. The Sochi Olympics served as a reminder of the massive issue of corruption that haunts Russia. Corruption affects every […]

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Source: DVIDSHUB's flickr photostream, courtesy photo.

Northeast Passage to revolutionize global shipping

Developing the Northeast Passage could revitalize Arctic regions, allow the shipping industry to bypass politically unstable areas and reduce travel costs and carbon emissions. But the project is dependent on huge investments, better regulations and political will. It was a historical moment when, in 2010, the bulk carrier “MV Nordic Barents” carried iron ore from a mine […]

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Can monetary policy address U.S. long-term unemployment?

With Janet Yellen newly confirmed as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, investors are now parsing her testimony to gain insight on the future direction of interest rates.   One particularly interesting piece of her testimony involved the persistence of long-term unemployment and a high number of part-time workers: “These observations underscore the importance of considering more than the […]

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Estonia border

Estonia-Russia border deal brings needed clarity

Estonia and Russia have signed an agreement clarifying their shared border. The two countries could see improved trade relations. On February 18th, Estonia and Russia signed a historic agreement outlining their shared border. Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow both signed the agreement. The agreement can be taken […]

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Scotland independence

Without the pound, independent Scotland has more questions to answer

In ruling out the possibility of a shared Pound, the UK Parliament created a great deal of uncertainty for how financial markets will operate in an independent Scotland. It is not often that all three major UK parties and a top civil servant at the Treasury are publicly in agreement, but recently they were: If […]

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California drought threatens to destabilize agriculture markets

Food availability, affordability and quality drive food security problems in the world. The drought in California threatens to exacerbate food security problems in all three issue areas. The state of California is deep into the third year of a record drought. An excellent map from the University of Nebraska shows that nearly 91% of the […]

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Jiang Zemin

Spanish court ruling could hurt trade between Spain and China

Spain’s High Court has issued arrest orders to detain former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, former premier Li Peng, and three others over charges brought by Tibetan human rights groups in Spain. The ruling may damage trade ties between the two countries. On February 10, 2014, Judge Ismael Moreno ruled that former Chinese President Jiang Zemin was […]

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