Putin's deal brings peace to the East, pain for the West
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Thursday 22 May 2014
Outlook President Vladimir Putin's ability to outfox never ends. Just as we in the EU scurry about seeking alternatives to Russian gas in a vain attempt to weaken his political muscle, he stitches up a deal to supply China with an almost identical amount that he sends our way. So, for every euro of foreign currency he loses from us, he'll gain the equivalent in yuan. No problem.
It's not all bad news, though: while his pivot to the East could increase Mr Putin's belligerence with Europe, it could make for more peaceful times in Asia. Energy-hungry China may not need stand-offs like the current spat with Vietnam over Beijing's placing of an oil rig in disputed waters there. But, away from the global politics of the thing, for businesses and consumers in the EU, the arrival of a major competitor for Russia's gas only means one thing: higher prices.
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