The US Department of Agriculture says Russia has banned US pork imports from two Tyson Fresh Meats plants and two Farmland Foods plants as of May 5. VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, has launched a $1 billion loan into syndication. Gold and currency reserves have grown more than 10% during the past 55 working days. “Russia appears to be struggling to secure any significant economic commitments from Tokyo.” Leading Russian mineral fertilizer producer Acron is set to raise $900 million from an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in July. As an anti-inflationary measure, the Central Bank of Russia has upgraded its refunding rate from 10.25 to 10.5 annual interest. The Natural Resources Ministry has sued Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element, demanding a $178 million fine for polluting Lake Baikal, and demanding that its Baikal pulp plant be shut down.