Today in Russian Business – April 7, 2009

The State Duma has passed the revised budget.  Inflation reached a five-month high in March as import prices were driven up.  Russian stocks have risen to a six-month high, and the ruble has reached a nine-week high.  According to VTB, the economy shrunk 5.4% in March.  For the first time in three years, Russian banks’ assets have contracted, whilst bad loans have increased to 2.8% of their total credit portfolio.  The Defense Ministry has made a deal with Moscow developers to build housing for soldiers in different regions over the next two years. Among emerging markets, Russia ranks 9th on the list of most attractive destinations for foreign investors, says the Moscow Times.  The New York Times analyzes the political motives behind the bailout of troubled car-manufacturer Avtovaz.  VEB has received a loan of $180 million from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. to construct a new terminal at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport.  The North Korean missile launch will not derail plans to link the Trans-Siberian Railway to Trans-Korean, says Bloomberg.  Carrefour has joined the race with Wal-Mart for control of Lenta.  Russia’s Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works received a $155.5 million loan from Czech export bank.