Today in Russian Business – Aug 3, 2010

Grain exports, already down from 21.5 million to 14 million tons, could be as much as halved this year thanks to drought and, now, forest fires, says the Russian Grain Union, as the latest developments causes wheat prices to surge.  St Petersburg will get its first Starbucks two years later than originally planned.  The company is being secretive about its reasons, but analysts suggest that the brand is suffering economically.  Reuters notes that Russia is a lucrative investor prospect, but underscores the risks of ‘corruption and the arbitrary rule of law‘.  Crisis recovery is having no ill effect on the banks, whose earnings may top pre-crisis records this year thanks to increased lending.  It still isn’t legal to sell iPads in Russia, but the Federal Security Service has apparently ordered two of them anyway.  Cutbacks will prevent Russia from meeting a 2012 deadline to eliminate its stockpiles of chemical weapons, which may be pushed back to 2015.  The rouble’s gain has passed what Reuters calls ‘the important psychological mark of 30.00 versus the dollar‘.  The FT reports on the growth of RenCap.