Today’s UK Telegraph says that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s comments about Mechel have made foreign investors “extremely wary of the Russian stock market.” Russian machine builders are calling for state intervention to help them access the technology of foreign majors. Russia’s Home Mortgage Lending Agency’s potential plans to offer less to those buying mortgages financed at below 12% “would hurt the market and banks but bring interest rates on home loans in line with the international market”. “Conditions for Russian investment in the EU are far from perfect,” says one Russian journalist. “Some EU “open” tenders have turned out to be closed to Russian companies.” Inflation has finally slowed, with the economy going a full week without any consumer price growth. Norilsk Nickel shares jumped amid speculation that the company would enter merger talks with billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s United Company RusAl, despite reports to the contrary.