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Nov 20, 2012

Weak retail sales show Russian slowdown deepening

MOSCOW, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Slower retail sales growth in
Russia in October has added to concerns the economy is feeling
the global economic chill, as previously free-spending domestic
consumers grow more cautious.

Federal Statistics Service data on Tuesday showed
year-on-year growth in retail sales fell last month to 3.8
percent from 4.4 percent in September, significantly below the
4.3 percent forecast in a Reuters poll last month.

Nov 9, 2012

Russian c.bank holds rates as inflation risks abate

MOSCOW, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank left all its
policy rates on hold as expected on Friday, for the second month
in a row, and adopted a less hawkish tone on inflation that
suggests it may stay its hand in subsequent months.

In a statement accompanying its rate decision, the Bank of
Russia was more optimistic about inflation trends than in
previous months – interpreted by analysts as making future hikes
in rates less likely.

Oct 18, 2012

Russia’s pension rollback dismays investors

MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuters) – A Russian government plan to
slash compulsory retirement savings threatens to cripple the
nascent asset management industry without fixing a hole in the
state pensions budget, industry players and economic experts

Progress on pension reform is being closely watched, as
Russia grapples with a huge shortfall in its overburdened state
pension system. Subsidies to this system already swallow up a
quarter of the federal budget – and they will keep rising as the
number of pensioners keeps growing.

Oct 17, 2012

Sluggish data shows Russian economy still slowing

MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Russia’s economy is struggling to
maintain its recent growth momentum, economic statistics showed
on Wednesday, increasing the likelihood that the central bank
will hold off on a further hike in interest rates next month
despite fears about rising inflation.

Data released by the State Statistics Service showed that
retail sales rose by 4.4 percent in September compared with a
year earlier, a marginal increase on 4.3 percent growth
registered in August.

Sep 28, 2012

Putin’s promises return to haunt Russian budget

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The easy days are over for Russia. After years of rising oil prices that poured ever more revenues into the nation’s coffers, it now faces tough decisions on spending.

A draconian budget plan, due to go before parliament on Friday, symbolizes the new era of austerity. And it raises big questions about how exactly Russia will make its books balance in the years ahead.

Sep 20, 2012

Profit fall at Russia’s VTB underlines need for capital

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Quarterly earnings at VTB (VTBR.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Russia’s second-biggest bank, dropped 63 percent due to volatile financial markets and foreign exchange losses, underscoring the importance of its plan to issue new shares to bolster capital.

The state-controlled bank’s capital base has been strained by acquisitions and lending growth, and chief executive Andrei Kostin said on Wednesday it was considering a $2 billion share sale next spring after the successful sale of a $5 billion stake in larger rival Sberbank (SBER.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) this week.

Sep 17, 2012

Special Report: Grandmaster of Russia’s pyramid cult

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The pitch from the pyramid scheme sweeping Russia has undeniable appeal: make money and make the world a better place, it says. Like thousands of others, Roman Vorobyev believed the scheme would deliver big returns for him and cascading wealth for others.

So in April Vorobyev ploughed 400,000 roubles ($12,500) of savings into a self-styled ‘mutual aid fund,’ known as MMM-2011, promoted by Sergei Mavrodi, a guru-like financier, former lawmaker and convicted fraudster.

Sep 13, 2012

Russian central bank hikes all rates in surprise move

MOSCOW, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank raised all
of its key interest rates by a quarter point on Thursday, in a
surprise move that reflected its concern about inflation after
consumer price growth overshot its 6 percent target.

The move bucks the trend in other major economies where weak
growth is putting pressure on central banks to keep rates low,
or else cut them – as the fellow BRIC countries Brazil, India
and China have all done recently.

Sep 10, 2012

Russian anti-graft campaigner Navalny targets VTB banking giant

MOSCOW, Sep 10 (Reuters) – A prominent Russian
anti-corruption campaigner and opposition leader on Monday
accused Kremlin-controlled banking giant VTB of a
“pattern of mismanagement and questionable practices”, a charge
the bank strongly denied.

The allegations were contained in a report co-published by
Alexei Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and the
Henry Jackson Society, a British-based think-tank.

Jul 6, 2012

Russia tightens budget to reduce oil price risk

MOSCOW, July 6 (Reuters) – Russia will keep a tight grip on
budget spending to reduce an excessive reliance on oil and gas
revenues, according to a draft three-year budget plan reviewed
by the new government on Friday.

The fiscal strategy cuts projections for both revenues and
spending, rowing back on fast spending growth that has helped
Russia to resist global economic weakness and smoothed President
Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin.