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Today in Russian Business – Dec 11th, 2008

A Barclays Capital report is the first from a bank to indicate that Russia’s economy could fall into recession next year as falling oil prices slow growth rates into negative numbers and reserves diminish.  Russians are ‘hoarding‘ foreign currency as a larger devaluation of the ruble is anticipated.  Vneshekonombank, the state bank distributing bailout funds which has already paid out billions of dollars worth of loans, has approved further lending of $2 billion to various domestic oil companies and VTB.  Prices for undeveloped land in the Moscow region have plunged more than 70%.  Fur sales have halved this year due to a combination of credit crunch and milder winters.  Highland Gold, in which Roman Abramovich holds a large stake, will be forced to delay two major projects in an effort to conserve cash.  Backing up the creation of his anti-crisis commission, Vladimir Putin will visit a struggling factory in southern Russia today.