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Today in Russian Business – March 6th, 2009

Inflation is at a four-month high of 13.9%.  International reserves are dropping at a slower speed thanks to a slight increase in oil prices, seeing the ruble hit its strongest level in a week against the dollar.  ‘The regional government may make it sound attractive to be your own boss, but the grim reality is that the job involves problems with bank loans, profitability and bribes.’  Russia has banned investment of its $220 billion oil wealth funds in bonds issued by foreign government agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The government has allocated 200 billion rubles ($5.52 billion) to buy shares in VTB to help it meet capital requirements, but the bank is apparently demanding three times the current market price.  Africa’s Standard Bank bought a third of Russia’s Troika Dialog bank for a $200 million cash injection and Standard’s Russian unit.  On Boris Berezovsky as oligarch scientist