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Today in Russian Business – Dec 8, 2008

Mining group Mechel, which has previously had difficulties with the state, is back in the hot seat as a new investigation by anti-monopoly authorities will target it as well as SUEK following complaints from power firms on prices.  The Kremlin is currently preparing a $5 billion rescue plan for the country’s lucrative arms export industry.  McDonald’s reports sales growth of 7.8% in Russia for November.  In early trading, the Russian RTS followed the European rally on news of a stimulus, edging up 7.3% to 632.55.  Despite good news in the markets, S&P has “sharply” downgraded Russia’s long-term sovereign credit rating over fears of the rapid depletion of reserves.  The ruble, which was allowed to slip again, will face a serious test in December to determine whether the state’s managed devaluation plan is working.