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Today in Russian Business – Jan 2, 2008

To the shock of citizens, the Belarus ruble has slid 20% in value as the government pegged the currency for the first time to exchange basket equally split between dollars, euros, and Russian rubles.  The IMF has also negotiated a $2.5 billion stabilization loan.  New data from VTB Bank Europe shows Russia’s Manufacturing PMI significantly worsened in December, causing the most dramatic fall in the index since these measurements began.  Canadian mining company High River Gold is struggling to find cash to meet its obligations ($142 million in debt) after being acquired by struggling Russian steel company Severstal.  KP Fashion Co., established by 16-year-old designer Kira Plastinina, has filed for bankruptcy seven months after opening their first store – backed by $80 million from Russia’s largest dairy company, OAO Wimm-Bill-Dann.  Russia has developed the world’s most powerful gas turbine locomotive, the GT1-001, which will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).