Things are getting very grim in Cyprus now after the Greeks went bust, leaving the Cyprus banking system in tatters, and there’s now growing unease as the number of Russians visiting the island has tripled in 3 years with fears that it banking industry could become a giant ‘laundromat’ for rubles, although this is subsequently denied by the Cypriot authorities.

The Russians, quite correctly, view Cyprus as a convenient backdoor to the European Union – and they are not alone. The Chinese have also started arriving, encouraged by what they regard as an incredibly low bar to immigration. Forget all those tricky visa forms, for anyone prepared to spend €300,000 on a property in Cyprus there is the bonus of eligibility for permanent residency. Once this is achieved, the owner is entitled to move anywhere within the EU. For the price of a shoebox in Shanghai, Cyprus is offering a gold-card travel pass and much more besides. – (Jeff Randall in today’s Telegraph)

The recent downgrades from S&P haven’t helped either, and although Cyprus is expected to request a bailout from the Troika today it looks increasing likely that the government is seeking alternative s to the punitive measures which will be demanded by the Troika in exchange for bailout funds