Outside the spotlight

Al Jazeera is a Qatari government-funded Arabic-language news channel based in Doha. As I search the Internet for news about the war in Ukraine, Al Jazeera is among the most timely and most impartial media sources. I’ll let you know if my assessment changes. One reason for their timeliness may be Qatar’s time-zone proximity to Ukraine. Doha is one hour ahead of Kiev.

To speed my news search, AI Jazeera’s “Russia-Ukraine War” newsfeed is one of my browser tabs. A March 17 story, “Russia says it transferred bond payment to avoid default,” included three sentences about the “mechanics” of the transaction:

Another source said JPMorgan, Russia’s correspondent bank, had processed the cash sent by the government and credited it to the paying agent, Citi. It would be checked and then distributed to various bondholders, the source said. Citi declined to comment.

This news tidbit, outside the spotlight of war and human suffering, reveals the relationship of US money-center banks, sovereign states, international corporate finance and investors. Russia is trying to avoid default because bond vigilantes have long memories and Russia’s debt will be growing.

From “Russian Corporate Bond Markets: Braced for Default?” by Peter Zangari, Morgan Stanley Capital Ingteernational (MSCI), March 9, 2022

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