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Business News Obzor for Sept/Oct, 2007
24 October 2007
Business News Obzor for Sept/Oct, 2007

Business News Obzor
for Sept/Oct, 2007

The following resource is meant to quickly introduce the reader to some of Russia's major business news for the month. Please note that some well-covered issues, such as Russia's oil and gas industry and general economic stats have not been reported here. We have concentrated more on issues of direct concern to USRCCNE readers and issues that have recieved little coverage. This news review is part of USRCCNE's monthly newsletter.


Foreign Investment

Foreign investment in Russia totals $50 bln so far this year
Russia's economy received $55.1 billion in foreign investment in 2006, or 2.7% more than in 2005.

Investors to Help with $1 Trillion in Infrastructure
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday private investors, including foreigners, would have a major role in a $1 trillion programme planned to modernise Russian industry and infrastructure.

90% Of Foreign Investors Ready To Expand Businesses In Russia
According to a study by Ernst & Young.

The Forecast for Foreign Investment in Russia
The Illinois Business Law Journal makes its predictions.

Putin Gets Investor Votes to Continue to Wield Power
Russia's benchmark Micex Index has risen 6.7% since September 12, the day the president unexpectedly named Viktor Zubkov, a 66-year-old financial regulator, prime minister.

Economic growth overshadows inflation concerns.
Figures are showing that inflation is going to rise above the planned 8 percent in 2007, and officials seem to have accepted the developments. Rising personal incomes are partly to blame for higher-than-planned inflation, experts say.

Russia does not rule out limits on foreign investment
Putin, currently on a visit to the United Arab Emirates designed to encourage mutual trade and investment, said the United States had passed a law limiting foreign investment, and that other countries were considering similar measures.

US Investors Can't Understand Russian Environmentalists.
Russian environmental regulator Oleg Mitvol on Friday completed his tour to the United States where he met with America’s major investors.


Financial Markets

Russians show greater interest in stock trade
The Russian population's trading activity on national stock exchanges has quadrupled over the past year and a half, Federal Financial Markets Service (FFMS) Head Vladimir Milovidov told a meeting on the development of Russia's financial market infrastructure.

Global equity markets look forward to Putin’s next move
Emerging markets have traditionally offered investors a heady mix of high risks and high returns, and few more so than Russia, where politics have triggered huge swings in quoted debt and equity prices.

No Risk Of Banking Crisis In Russia
"One of the most reliable pillars on which the Russian banking system rests is private deposits, which is the most stable source of financing for banks," Dvorkovich said.

U.S. Mortgage Crisis Having Little Effect On Russia
Foreign investors have only withdrawn a small amount of funds from Russia as a result of the mortgage crisis in the United States, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said.

U.S. crisis could bury affordable housing in Russia.
The mortgage crisis in the United States has had an unpredictable effect in Russia. When it started unfolding, Russian banks imposed tougher credit terms, but later on made an about face.

Some 200 Russian Cos. Worth Over $500 Mln Could Hold IPOs
According to Deutsche Bank.

Russia Emerging as Loan Haven 9 Years After Default.
Banks from New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. to ABN Amro Holding NV in Amsterdam are providing more loans to Russian companies than ever as memories of the country's $40 billion default in 1998 fade.

Russian markets cheer Kudrin promotion
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin's promotion in Russia's revamped cabinet is positive news for economic stability, and the bond market is proving to be the biggest winner.


Businesses and Markets

As Burgers Boom in Russia, McDonald's Touts Discipline
Of the 118 countries where McDonald's Corp. does business, none can boast more activity than Russia.

Prices, not extinction, worry Russian caviar fans.
Russians only let the price, not the threat of extinction, come between them and caviar, a survey by the global conservation organization WWF said on Monday.

Russian patriotism drives fermented bread drink craze
Adverts boast that kvass, which had a virtual monopoly on fizzy drinks during the Soviet era, is a "tradition that unites us."  

Gref sole candidate for Sberbank CEO
The official decision will come in late November. 

Vacations in Russia: Russian travel more, foreign travel less.
In the number of tourists, the domestic tourism to southern Russia overwhelmed overseas travel, which is usually about 5 million Russians.

Dell Opens First Exclusive Retail Store Offering In Russia
Muscovites who want the leading computer products and services from Dell and advice on how to best use them at home or in their small businesses will soon have a place to go where Dell computers are sold exclusively.

Christie's to Open Moscow Office
The last few years have even seen the creation of Russian-art-focused investment vehicles like the Aurora Fine Art Investments Fund.

South Korean Retailer Opens First Store Outside of South Korea - in Russia
Named for South Korean company Lotte Group, which financed the project, it will house Lotte Department Store, the first Asian department store to open in a Western country.

Russians Among World's Most Respected Companies
Sberbank, Magnitogorsk Steel, and Gazprom-Neft, LukOil, Gazprom, and Rosneft made the top 50. 

Readers will also be interested to know that Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers have both announced plans to open Moscow offices!


Real Estate

Private Land Ownership Destroying Russia's Smallest Peoples
Taking advantage of new laws that allow them to purchase land formerly held in common, Russian businessmen are doing more than tsarist or Soviet officials ever did to destroy the foundations of the life of the numerically small peoples of the Russian North, according to one of the leaders of those communities.

Sochi residents fear Olympic land grab
Ryndina is one of thousands of residents in an area known as the Imeretinsky Lowlands on the outskirts of Sochi who face imminent removal to make way for construction of the Olympic Village and ice-skating rinks.

Russia's Olympic Town Offers Big Money, Intrigue
Yet the party goes on in Sochi, at least in part because it is one European resort where rich Russians have not begun to wear out their welcome.

Surge in home ownership heralds the rise of the Russian middle class
Obtaining a mortgage – "ipoteka" in Russian – is the latest rite of passage for Russian professionals in pursuit of a middle-class life-style.

Foundation stone laid at Russia Tower in Moscow
On Tuesday Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov personally laid a ceremonial foundation to the Russia Tower. The 612-meter pyramidal building designed by famous architect Sir Norman Foster will become the tallest skyscraper in Europe and the third largest building in the world.


Labor, HR, and Household Finances

The brainpower famine begins to bite
Conventional wisdom about eastern Europe is usually wrong. Few believed the communist ice-cap would melt so quickly in 1989. Today’s growth rates seemed unimaginable in the early 1990s. Surely nothing could now derail the great locomotive of economic growth? Indeed something could: a lack of brainpower.

Putin takes aim at foreign executives, imports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday likened an influx of top foreign executives to a flood of foreign imports that he said were threatening domestic producers. 

Five Million Families in Russia Earn Over $30,000
The number grew by over 60 percent over a year.

Russia: A Bread-And-Butter Issue
Rosstat, the federal state statistics service, has marked a 17 percent price hike in basic foodstuffs since the start of the year, a jump that officials variously attribute to everything from global overpopulation to biofuel production to poor harvests at home.

Food Prices Soar 30% In a Month
Prices rose by as much as 30 percent for 9 out of 10 food products in September, the Russian Statistics Committee (Rosstat) has said, leaving ordinary people stressed and angered as basic products such as milk and vegetable oil are hit by rising inflation.

Growing Gap Between Rich, Poor In Russia Does Not Promote Democracy
The gap between the richest and poorest citizens of Russia is ten-fold - and according to some sources forty-fold.

More Russians See Class Divisions as 'Very Sharp' than Say Ethnic and Religious Ones
The respondents were asked “which social contradictions in [their] region (town) in [their] view are the most sharp?”

Rising Incomes, Rising Optimism
Rising incomes mean Russians have become more optimistic about their future and about the prospects of the national and regional economies.

Russia surprises in sustainability league
Russia is outpacing the US, UK and Germany in securing its population's long-term economic and environmental future, according to a new study.

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