A „key element” of an energy union to run between Poland and Lithuania.
Privatization in Ukraine will start in 2016. Because of Russians.
Macedonia plans modernization of its railway.
UK retailer not successful in the Balkans.
Hungarian government spent private pension funds on state debt.
Poland and the Baltics
Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are going to sign a deal on building a strategic gas pipeline. The pipeline construction is to start next year and be completed by 2019. The capacity (in the first period) is going to be 2.5bn cubic meters, with the potential to rise to 4bn cubic meters. That is supposed to match all the needs of gas supplies of the Baltics. The GIPL pipeline is going to be 534km long and will run from Rembelszczyzna in Poland to Jauniunai in Lithuania. The Financial Times reports this initiative came to light just a few days after the United Kingdom has announced sending its troops to the region in order to shore up defenses against Russia (they would join the US and German forces). So it’s a kind of support for Baltic states and free them of dependency on Russia raw materials. „Until recently, they were entirely dependent on Soviet-era pipelines, giving them no leverage to haggle over prices”, writes the FT.com. The total cost of the project amounts to EUR558m. Half of that sum (approx. EUR295m) would be provided by European Commission via its Connecting Europe Facility. It is said Poland would provide another EUR120m.
The Cabinet of Ministers was forced to postpone the plan of privatization from 2015 to 2016. It’s because of the slowdown of transferring objects to the State Property Fund (SPF) but also because Ukrainian politicians aren’t ready with the laws that will ensure the privatization won’t get out of control. The Verkhovna Rada – Ukrainian parliament – wants to forbid Russians to buy Ukrainian assets. This is why the deputies have to consider a draft of a law No. 2319a amending the law on state property privatization and on the State Property Fund. According to the new law each trader and investment fund will have to submit information on persons in whose interests they buy state corporate laws. And there are more amendments.
Modernizing agricultural infrastructure and developing aquaculture – this is the focus of European Investment Bank. The EIB will grant EUR400m loan to Ukraine so the country can improve agriculture field machinery, drying storages and processing, as well as logistics capacity. It is also supposed to boost investments in aquaculture and cold chain infrastructure in the fish sector. According to EIB website „The project aims to have a positive impact on the rural economy as well as on the environment and public health”.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia will loose more than 106 workplaces as the UK retailer Marks&Spencer will close its stores in the region. The company will start closing its 12 stores (3 of them in Bulgaria) starting from January 2016. It is said that the business wasn’t as successful in those five countries as it is in Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Novinite.com cites the M&S’s spokesperson who claims new stores will be launched soon in Czech Republic and Poland.
A controversy over the pensions in Hungary. The State Secretary András Tállai said in Hungarian parliament that Hungarian Pension Reform and Debt Reduction Fund was spent on controlling state debt. This means that after forcing private pension holders to merge their savings with the state system, the government have spent almost all the money it received from those funds – about HUF3tr – to cover state debt. This is record high. So the former private pensioners want to know more about the way their funds were spent. The Pension Reform and Debt Reduction Fund was created in 2011 with its goal to reform the pension system. Money from private pensions holders were to be mixed with public pension fund to make the system more efficient. But almost all of the HUF2.9453tr were spent to cover shortfalls in the state budget. So the Pension Reform and Debt Reduction Fund was terminated on January 31. Index.hu reports that „the government was forced to use private pensions to cover debts because, by the end of 2010, half a year after Fidesz took over the power, the central budget had a hole of HUF600bn due to tax cuts”.
Macedonian Public Enterprise for Railway Infrastructure will open two tenders for construction and reconstruction works on the Beljakovce – Kriva Palanka railway section (it’s a part of railway Corridor VIII which will ultimately link the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria to the Adriatic coast in Albania). The project will be funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and its total value reaches EUR140m. The EBRD said in a general procurement notice „the project will require procurement of works, following a prequalification, and consultancy services for the supervision of the works”. The tenders are scheduled first quarter of 2016.
What’s up in indexes
BUX index (of the Budapest Stock Exchange) increased a bit on Monday to 22029,00 index points (from 21941,42 index points on Friday). So it’s up 0.40 per cent. with From year-end it’s up 32.43 per cent.
BET (of Bucharest) was also up 0.23 per cent – climbing from Friday’s 7119,83 index points to 7136,19 index points on Monday. And from year-end it’s up 0.75 per cent.
PX (of Prague) stronger and stronger. On Monday it grew by 0.82 per cent (index increased from 981,18 index points on Friday to 989,25 index point on Monday). And from year-end it’s up 4.49 per cent.
WIG20 (of Warsaw) ended down on Monday with 2133,56 index points (compared with 2143,28 index points on Friday). So it dropped by 0.45 per cent. And from year-end it dropped by 7.87 per cent.
Also OMXT (of Tallinn) dropped by 0.53 per cent on Monday (the result was 861,37 index points while on Friday it was 865,92 index points). From year-end it’s up 14.08 per cent.
OMXR (of Riga) increased to 567,06 index points (from Friday’s 564,62 index points). That means it’s up 0.43 per cent. And from year-end it’s up as much as 38.98 per cent.
OMXV (of Vilnius) decreased to 481,96 index points on Monday. On Friday it was 482,62 index points. So it dropped by 0.14 per cent. But from year-end it’s up 6.53 per cent.
SAX (of Bratislava) stood flat on Monday with 275,54 index points. And from year-end it’s up 23.94 per cent.
SOFIX (of Sofia) dropped on Monday by 0.44 per cent (from 444.83 index points on Friday to 442,86 index points on Monday). And from year-end it dropped 15.18 per cent.
Another day of increases at UX (of Ukraine). On Monday it was up 0.55 per cent, increasing from 843,48 index points (of Friday) to 848,16 index points. From year-end it dropped by 17.92 per cent.