Hungary slaps banks, retailers with special tax to finance coronavirus fight and recovery

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest April 6, 2020

PM Viktor Orban is expected to announce a broader economic stimulus early this week that could amount to as much as HUF10 trillion.

Coronavirus measures have swelled Turkey’s unemployment ranks by two million claims opposition

bne IntelIiNews April 5, 2020

Jobs lost despite government’s strategy to fight COVID-19 outbreak not being strong enough to substantially stem spread of virus, party leader says.

Bulgaria extends state of emergency until May 13, revises budget to cover coronavirus spending

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia April 4, 2020

PM Boyko Borissov says his government will ease social distancing restrictions when the infection rate declines for three consecutive days.

Turkey’s top listed automakers Ford Otosan and Tofas show “first signs” of virus trouble

Akin Nazli in Belgrade April 3, 2020

Some auto sales growth seen at the start of March may be the last recorded for quite some time.

Turkey’s Akbank, Ulker secure syndicated loan renewal deals amid sudden economic stop concerns

Akin Nazli in Belgrade April 2, 2020

Analyst warns, meanwhile, that Turkish banks are more vulnerable in pandemic emergency than they were in 2018 lira crisis.

Europe’s biggest city Istanbul running out of time to stop virus surge warns mayor

bne IntelIiNews April 2, 2020

Ekrem Imamoglu steps up calls for Turkish president Erdogan to announce lockdown. Says he’s anxious “politics” between rival camps are hindering response to pandemic badly needed by metropolis of 16 million.

Albania and Montenegro to suffer huge tourism losses due to coronavirus warns S&P

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje April 2, 2020

Small "Sun, Sea, and Sand" island destinations to be the worst affected by slowdown in global tourism flows this year, followed by Central and Eastern Europe, rating agency says.

Russia, Saudi Arabia agree to slash oil production, Trump claims

bne IntelliNews April 2, 2020

Donald Trump said on April 2 that Russia and Saudi Arabia would be cutting their output, instead of continuing with a supply war that could result in hundreds of oil companies going out of business. The Kremlin denied his claim.

Watcom shopping index collapses as Moscow put on lockdown

Ben Aris in Berlin April 2, 2020

The Watcom shopping index, which measures foot traffic in Moscow’s largest malls in real time, collapsed at the start of this week, falling by 70.9% year on year after Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin put the Russian capital on strict lockdown.

Billionaire Alisher Usmanov donates $20mn to help equip new Uzbekistan hospital for treating pandemic patients

bne IntelIiNews April 2, 2020

Donation will help finance project of health ministry’s Mercy and Health Foundation. Central Asian nation aiming to establish 10 new hospitals in battle against coronavirus.

Top Turkey ETF sees first quarter outflows of $100mn

Akin Nazli in Belgrade April 1, 2020

Analyst says he anticipates further 10% decline by end of April.

Hungary under fire over legislation that gives sweeping powers to government

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest April 1, 2020

Hungarian MPs approved legislation to allow the government to extend the state of emergency without a time limit and grant power to the government to rule by decree as long as the state of emergency is in place.

Pandemic knocked growth momentum out of Turkish manufacturing March PMI shows

bne IntelIiNews April 1, 2020

Sector pushed back into contraction in “bitter blow” to recovering firms. Output and new orders slowed sharply. Lira weakness, supply shortages pushing up input prices.

Belarus restricts coronavirus data as second death from COVID-19 is confirmed

bne IntelliNews April 1, 2020

Belarus’ authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has dismissed the pandemic as a “psychosis” and says the biggest challenge for the nation at the moment is the economic meltdown.

EBRD reveals CEE/Eurasia economies’ vulnerability to external shocks amid coronavirus crisis

bne IntelIiNews April 1, 2020

Development bank looks at the resilience of states in the region to falling commodity prices, value chain disruption, declines in tourism and domestic disruption.

The calm before the storm: Russia’s March PMI manufacturing index shows only a mild decline

bne IntelliNews April 1, 2020

It is still too early for the full impact of the double whammy of the oil prices crash and pandemic related stop shock, but Russia’s IHS Markit Russia PMI was already slowing in March before the storm broke

See no virus evil, hear no virus evil, speak no virus evil in Turkmenistan

bne IntelIiNews April 1, 2020

Plainclothes agents in capital of authoritarian state reportedly nabbing people uttering the word “coronavirus”.

Calls grow in Turkey for COVID-19 “helicopter money” and countrywide lockdown

bne IntelIiNews March 31, 2020

Government coffers seen as empty after currency crisis fight. “Fearful of joining the army of unemployed, many workers have had no choice but to brave the virus danger,” says economist.

Dramatic fall in pollution in European coronavirus hotspots but business as usual in the Balkans

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow March 31, 2020

Unlike coronavirus-stricken countries such as Italy, the pandemic has had little impact on air pollution levels in the Western Balkans.