In Brief – N.3 – December 28, 2014

Worldwide defense sales decreased by 2% in 2013 according to SIPRI. Media noticed Russian arms sales jumped 20% while the US military budget still represents more than the one’s of the next ten countries combined. Arms sales top 5 is USA with 55.9%, UK 11.1%, Russia 7.9%, France 6.3%, Italy 3%.

One more Black Monday for oil prices which continued to slide further (approaching $56), raising questions about how such a quick fall – more than half in 6  months (from $115) – will affect the world economy. Many learnt that higher oil prices were at the roots of several “shocks”; and now the opposite situation could wreak similar havoc, analysts warned.

“I am excited to announce I will actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States,” tweeted Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and son and brother of two former US Presidents.

Credit Default Swaps (CDS) have become topical again and this is no good indication for stocks markets, said analysts. 5-year CDS against Greek default must be paid up-front.

China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries agreed to expand all-out economic cooperation and establish the executive body of the China-CEEC business council in Warsaw, Poland. China confirmed currency swaps agreements with Hungary and Albania.

Abenomics will go on. 2 years after taking office, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won two thirds of the seats in risky early elections marked by very low turnout.

RussiaChina rapprochement is going full swing. “The two governments’ (…) cooperation in various fields witness a sound momentum,” reads an official communiqué after the two PMs met.

Ukraine’s pro-West government-controlled parliament adopted a bill cancelling Ukraine’s non-aligned status, a move angrily seen by Russia as another step towards joining NATO.

America reached new heights with a strong 5 percent GDP growth in Q3 2014, a level unseen since 2003, and a DJIA that broke the 18,000 points milestone.

Istanbul-based Englishman Joe Lewis allegedly promised his investment club’s members a healthy return of 36 percent a year. Actually Lewis and his JL Trading firm had ceased activity in 2009, allegedly losing $200m.