Russia, Turkey Pair Up in Trade Deals
ISTANBUL—Russia and Turkey signed several energy and trade agreements Wednesday, tying the knot in a relationship between historic rivals that has quietly grown into what Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev described as "a full-scale strategic partnership."
Met by a 21-gun salute and honor guard on his first visit to Turkey, Mr. Medvedev oversaw the signing of deals to ensure visa-free travel, build Turkey's first nuclear-power plant and boost construction of an oil pipeline from Turkey's Black Sea coast to the Mediterranean.
Wednesday also saw the first meeting of a high-level committee headed by Mr. Medvedev and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to strengthen relations between Russia and Turkey, a U.S. ally and North Atlantic Treaty Organization member. The two sides pledged to increase trade at least three-fold to $100 billion dollars within the next three years.
Agreements signed by Russia's state-controlled natural gas and oil companies, OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft, were among the most commercially significant of Wednesday's agreements, Russian officials said, though they declined to reveal details.
"Russian-Turkish ties are reaching the level of a full-scale strategic partnership," Mr. Medvedev said in an article published Wednesday in the Turkish daily Zaman, stressing that the "key" element of the relationship was in the field of energy. He repeated the idea at a press conference in Ankara.
Russia's state nuclear-energy company, Atomstroyexport, signed a deal to build, control and operate a $20 billion-dollar, 4,800-megawatt nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in southern Turkey. Sergei Kirienko, head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters the agreement was a breakthrough, according to Russian news agency Interfax. For the first time, Russia would operate a plant in another country and sell its power, rather than just build it and walk away, Interfax quoted Mr. Kirienko as saying.4.The claim that foreclosures are net getting worse is the wrong conclusion as nearly 5 mio households have not paid their mortgages for 6 weeks which is a tremendous amount of upcoming forclosures but not being processed by banks as they could not handle the write down in that speed or magnitude of losses.
U.S. Home Seizures Reach Record in Sign Recovery Is Delayed
By Dan Levy
May 13 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. home repossessions rose to a record level in April while foreclosure filings dropped in a sign mortgage lenders are working off a backlog of seized properties, according to RealtyTrac Inc. data.
“Right now it appears that the banks are focusing on processing the loans already in foreclosure, and slowing down the initiation of new foreclosure proceedings as a way of managing inventory levels,” Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s executive vice president, said in an e-mail. “We’ll probably see this trend continue for a while.”
A record 92,432 bank repossessions were reported in April, up 45 percent from a year earlier and 1 percent from March, Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac said today in a statement. Foreclosure filings, including default and auction notices, were 333,837. One out of every 387 U.S. households got a filing.
Unemployment of 9.9 percent and a rising percentage of U.S. homes worth less than the mortgages on them are combining to thwart a housing recovery, according to RealtyTrac. About 5 million delinquent loans will probably end up in the foreclosure process in addition to the 1.2 million homes already taken back by lenders, Sharga said.
Foreclosure filings fell 2 percent from a year earlier, the first decline since the company began issuing annual reports in January 2006.
Defaults may not peak until 2011 depending on how lenders process them, Sharga said.
“The underlying conditions -- mostly unemployment and millions of ‘underwater’ loans -- haven’t improved,” he said.
‘Very High Level’
Monthly foreclosure filings will remain “at a very high level that will not drop off in the near future,” James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. April marked the 14th straight month that foreclosure filings exceeded 300,000.
More than a fifth of U.S. mortgage holders owed more than their homes were worth in the first quarter, according to Zillow.com. The proportion rose to 23 percent from 21 percent in the previous quarter, the Seattle-based property service said this month.
Home prices may fall as much as 5 percent through the first quarter of 2011, according to forecasts from IHS Global Insight of Lexington, Massachusetts. Still, economist Patrick Newport said foreclosures may not get much worse.