The government has split its $157 billion Stabilization Fund into two subfunds for reserve and growth. Officials are “still at odds over how to invest the windfall, as the fund’s supervisor sits in jail and legal risks remain,” but investments in foreign stocks and bonds could begin later this year. In his “first speech to big business” in his role as preferred successor, Dmitry Medvedev has called on Russian business to follow China’s lead and invest in companies abroad to bolster the country’s economic power and reduce its dependence on foreign technology. A poll of 10 economists has revealed that the government’s anti-inflation measures did not work and consumer price growth will exceed the government’s target for a fifth year in a row. Russia’s central bank says it will make ensuring liquidity in the banking sector a priority over fighting inflation, but the Cabinet has failed to agree on urgent anti-inflationary measures this week, with Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov “lashing out” at key government ministries for their failure to find a compromise.
The United States and Russia will launch formal talks to discuss growing trade and investment links. Vietnam has licensed a mobile services venture that includes Russia’s Vimpelcom. Sir Richard Branson is to launch a Virgin Russia airline. Russian Technologies could get 100% of power station construction company Technopromexport and the government’s stake in truck maker KamAZ as part of its expansion plans. United Company RusAl, the aluminum producer, received approval from the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service to buy 29% of Norilsk Nickel.PHOTO: First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev seen at his meeting with Krasnodar Region Governor Alexander Tkachev in Krasnodar, about 1200 kilometers (750 miles) south of Moscow, southern Russia, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Pool)