Today in Russian Business – Jan 30th, 2009

Despite efforts to help the ruble to find an equilibrium level, the currency continues to hit new lows, a drop apparently compounded by investors’ view of Vladimir Putin’s Davos speech as ‘absurd’.  In a bid to stimulate the economy, the government has announced that it will give 60,000 rubles ($1,700) to unemployed Russians as startup capital to open small businesses.  It has been agreed that VTB needs a recapitalization of 200 billion rubles, but the bank has not yet decided how to implement this, and is considering an issue of preference shares.  ‘The quest for a competitively priced opportunity is guiding Russians in their search among the bargains now on offer’ for London’s top properties.  Russia may bail out Oleg Deripaska’s carmaker GAZ, ‘a move that would mark the first financial rescue of an individual company by the government’.