Today in Russian Business – May 4, 2009

According to a Reuters poll, analysts have suggested that GDP will drop by 4.7% this year and growth is unlikely to return by the end of the year Dmitry Medvedev has pledged to increase social spending in some areas in the 2010-2011 budget.  The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has said that in order to support the construction industry, 12,000 apartments have been bought to house 35,000 citizens.  Rusal chairman Viktor Vekselberg has said that as part of its debt restructuring, Vneshekonombank may sell bonds convertible to stock in Rusal and Rusal may sell its $4 billion 25% stake in Norilsk Nickel.  Norilsk Nickel is looking to change the terms of debt repayments linked to the 2007 takeover of Canada’s LionOre.  Communications provider Mobile TeleSystems plans to storm Russia with web connections and services hoping to exploit the country’s relatively undeveloped internet industry.  Is information technology the key to the development of the Russian economy?  Speculation that a dry spell may endanger crops in Russia and Ukraine saw wheat prices jump the most in five months.