Today in Russian Business – April 27, 2009

Despite criticism from opposition politicians, Putin’s anti-crisis plan has been lauded by the Duma.  Can the ‘1998 miracle‘ be matched by today’s measures?  The Economic Development Ministry wants to postpone the increase in utility prices to spare industry higher costs.  The Ministry also predicts the unemployment rate to be between 10.4% and 10.7% this year.  The Education and Science Minister has warned that only 30% of economic school graduates will find a job in 2015, as the state prioritizes other sectors.  Risks of inflation reaching 13% in 2009 are minimal, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has reportedly stated.  Steel manufacturers await the result of negotiations with Chinese iron ore producers, predicting a price cut of between 30% and 40% from last year.  Severstal has said that overdue repayments from domestic car manufacturers are at a reasonable level.  Hyundai is looking for a $331 million loan to finance a new factory in Russia.  VTB Bank head says that the investment faith in Russia will become rotten‘ as bad loans increase.  The 23-year old son of Senator Sergei Pugachyov has been appointed general director of French newspaper France-Soir.