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Foreign policy experts, though, have given economists a run for their money since Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the US and Europe to wallop Russia with unprecedented sanctions designed to compel Vladimir Putin to stop his illegal invasion.
They fired a bazooka at their own feet, doing nothing to avert the war while crushing the competitiveness of European industry and slashing the living standards of ordinary Americans and Europeans. Goodbye German car industry, on current trends.
It’s worse, though. In late March Biden, under the advice of experts no doubt, said Russia’s currency would be turned to “rubble” by sanctions. This week the rouble reached a seven-year high against the US dollar, becoming the best performing currency in the world this year.
Interest rates on Russian 10-year government bonds, at about 9 per cent, are one percentage point lower than they were before the war. The Russian central bank is cutting interest rates as the Fed lifts them.
Soaring energy prices, as a result mainly of Western sanctions, have supercharged Russian oil and gas revenues, quadrupling the Russian government’s budget surplus in May compared with the same month a year ago, as Putin gloated in St Petersburg last week.
Security and intelligence experts haven’t done much better, routinely foreshadowing the collapse of Russian forces, or even the imminent death of Putin from a variety of diseases, all while those forces appear to have slowly occupied a fifth of Ukraine, including the crucial land corridor between Crimea and Russia.
Australia’s soaring cost of cigarettes is presenting lucrative opportunities for international organised crime groups who are turning to illicit tobacco as a “low-risk and high-reward” trade.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) says there is growing evidence serious and organised crime cartels are also using the enterprise as a platform for further illicit activities including drug importations and terrorism.