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Today in Russian Business – March 18, 2011

Healthcare spending would need to increase by 15% if Russia wants to reach EU standards by 2020, but Russia can ‘ill afford [it] in the foreseeable future.‘  Russia’s Micex stock market has advanced on rising oil prices and a Goldman Sachs comment that its shares are ‘cheap‘.  And with a 10-12% rise in oil price predicted, this Severstal board member feels secure in predicting that Russia will be outperforming its emerging market peers by the end of 2011.  The main obstacle to Russia’s World Trade Organization membership is intellectual property violation, says this piece, focusing in particular on markets and piracy.  A national payment system currently under review by the Duma is causing controversy amid suspicions that it will hinder international systems such as Visa.  ‘Draconian‘ registration rules for foreigners are to be lifted within a month, demonstrating the authorities’ ‘readiness and ability to listen to sound advice‘.  Reuters reports in detail on the global pharma companies currently planning to invest in Russia, including Genzyme, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.  Vladimir Putin says the banking sector is ‘actively recovering‘ from the economic crisis.  Two analysts assess the risks of investing in Russian stocks.