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Hoarding In a Sanctions Regime

3:15 PM, Jul 21, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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When nations start imposing sanctions and embargoes on each other, black markets and hoarding follow as light comes with dawn. Witness Cuban cigars, which never went away and became even more desirable, especially as a status item favored by international types who smoked them to demonstrate that they knew where, and how, to get them.

Since scarcity—or even its prospect—drives hoarding, it is almost inevitable that there will be a push to buy up Russian items. So what do the Russians make that anyone wants? We all know that they pump and ship a lot of oil but after that …? Fur coats? Seems they were big in sable and such at one time. But that's small stuff. Caviar? Maybe, but that would fall into the same category as those Cuban cigars. There is not an especially broad appetite for unaffordable fish eggs.

But then there is the Russian product that is instantly recognizable and abundant around the world: the AK-47. So, as Aaron Smith at CNN Money reports, "AK-47s become hot commodity after U.S. sanctions."  

"We sell some of the Kalashnikov Concern stuff and that has been selling fast," said Robert Keller, manager of K-Var Corp., a Las Vegas-based online gun distributor.

Keller said his company has been sold out of the guns since the sanctions went into effect. On K-Var's web site, AK-47s are listed as "out of stock."

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