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Caspian contagion risks

A banking crisis is a short-term risk in a region bursting with energy developments

A banking crisis in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan has put a renewed onus on the oil and gas sector as both Caspian economies struggle to deal with the fallout from a slowdown in neighbouring Russia and China. Analysts fear the banking problems of the two economies—still reeling from a decline in commodity prices and currency devaluations—may spread, affecting big capital-spending plans aimed at arresting declining oil production. A default by the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) in May sent shockwaves across the Caspian after the country's largest lender said it was seeking a write-down as part of a $3.3bn restructuring. Kazakhstan, which is undertaking yet another painful restructuring

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