Under a revised budget, Russia is to boost spending by 667 billion rubles this year to tackle the recession, which is forecast to continue well into the second quarter. ‘Russia is the only country among the Group of 20 with double-digit inflation, and this remains one of the country’s most serious problems.’ The Kremlin will not cut previously allocated spending for its aerospace industry this year. Putin says that the $2.4 billion allocation is crucial for Russia’s attempts to create a ‘high-tech economy’, and will support the industry, which employs thousands. Russian Alcohol Group’s sales rose more than 20% in the first two months of 2009, marking a decline in import consumption. A significant drop in advance demand for Russian airline tickets suggests that consumers are ‘losing faith in the economy, air travel and their own financial prospects’, says Reuters. VTB has signed an agreement for a seven-year, $240 million loan from Export-Import Bank of China. Oleg Deripaska may be permitted to pay back foreign creditors with Rusal shares.