Today in Russian Business

251207corp.jpgRussia’s retail turnover for November 2007 exceeded 1 trillion rubles for the first time ever, and the country will become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2020, provided its gross domestic product keeps its current annual growth rate. Russia has exported a record $7 billion worth of arms in 2007, with state-controlled Rosoboronexport overseeing most of the contracts. The duties on stainless steel import will go up by 35% to 40% early in 2008, with Russian traders of Chinese steel imports feeling the heaviest impact of the increase. French giant Renault is conducting a due diligence review before signing a final deal to buy a 25% blocking stake in Russia’s largest carmaker AvtoVAZ. Toyota Motor Corp expects its sales in Europe to continue growing at around 2% next year, although this rate excludes the rapidly expanding Russian market. “Russia is pulling the European market.” Rusal’s acquisition of Norilsk Nickel is seen as the companies “first step towards creating Russia’s first global and diversified mining and metallurgical enterprise.” (PHOTO: A New Year tree with changeable lights stands at the Red Square in Moscow Monday, Dec. 24, 2007. New Year is the biggest holiday of the year in Russia, and is followed by the Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko))