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Russian News: March 28th, 2008!

RBC, 28.03.2008, Moscow 11:40:45.According to the Economy Ministry’s estimates, Russia’s GDP growth stood at 7.8 percent in January-February 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the ministry’s monitoring report on the economic situation in the country states. Meanwhile, GDP rose 8.2 percent in February 2008 against the same month of 2007.

RBC, 28.03.2008, Moscow 11:09:45.Rosneft’s net profit under RAS decreased 1.3 times from nearly RUB 213.217bn (approx. USD 9.07bn) in 2006 to RUB 162bn (approx. USD 6.89bn) in 2007, the Russian oil producer said in a statement today. Meanwhile, Rosneft’s net profit stood at RUB 70.691bn (approx. USD 3.01bn) in the fourth quarter of 2007, up 33.26 percent compared to RUB 53.047bn (approx. USD 2.26bn) in Q3 2007. Rosneft attributes the rise in quarterly profit to higher global prices of oil and oil products.

RBC, 28.03.2008, Moscow 10:59:11.Inflation is expected to reach 1-1.2 percent in Russia in March. This projection was made in a monitoring report on the macroeconomic situation in Russia for January-February 2008. As of March 17, Inflation stood at 0.6 percent. Consumer prices rose 1.2 percent (up from 1.1 percent a year earlier) in February and 3.5 percent over the first two months of 2008 (up from 2.8 percent over the same period of the previous year).

RBC, 28.03.2008, Moscow 10:27:27.More than half of Russians (55 percent) feel that innovations will improve the country’s economy and social life, a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) showed. Younger people were especially optimistic about innovations, with 65 percent of respondents between 18 and 24 years old sharing this opinion. Meanwhile, 16 percent of Russians believe that innovations cannot change life greatly. The figures have remained virtually unchanged from a year earlier, VCIOM reported.

RBC, 28.03.2008, Moscow 09:56:09.The Association of Regional Banks of Russia (the Russia Association) has drafted a strategy for increasing the accessibility of financial services, which stresses the need to provide Russian Post with a “broad range of powers” on the lending and savings market, the RBC Daily newspaper wrote today. It has been proposed that POS terminals should be set up at all post offices, and that Russian Post should start issuing its own plastic cards and electronic money in the mid term.

RBC, 28.03.2008, Moscow 09:28:37.Renova Media yesterday announced its Comcor TV broadband Internet subscriber numbers in a report, which for the first time consolidated the figures of companies the media group acquired in 2006-2007. According to Renova’s estimates, this has placed the company second on the Moscow market, as Corbina Telecom has been moved down to third place, the RBC Daily newspaper wrote today. Analysts agree with Akado’s estimates, while competitors believe the figures are far-fetched. According to Comcor TV General Director Sergei Alimbekov, Comcor’s subscriber base in Moscow reached 369,000 users in 2007. According to the company’s data, it took second place with a 19.4-percent market share against 34.4 percent mustered by Comstar Direct (the Stream brand), with Corbina Telecom in third place with 15.5 percent (according to J’son & Partners’ estimates).

RBC, 27.03.2008, St. Petersburg 19:26:52.The ent profit of Polymetal under RAS shrank by a factor of 101.5 to RUB 537,000 (approx. USD 22,697) in 2007 compared to a year earlier, the Russian precious metals producer reported today. Net loss stood at RUB 40.571m (approx. USD 1.71m) in the fourth quarter of 2007. As reported earlier, the company’s net prodit stood at RUB 41.108m (approx. USD 1.74m) during the first nine months of 2007.

RBC, 27.03.2008, Moscow 19:03:22.The Russian stock market closed with most blue chips rising more than one percent. The MICEX index increased 1.56 percent to 1,618.61 points, while the RTS index went up 1.75 percent to 2,030.13 points. Among the RTS’s top gainers were Rosneft (up 4.76 percent), LUKoil (up 3.54 percent), and Surgutneftegas (up 3.56 percent). On MICEX, Rosneft surged 4 percent, LUKoil climbed 3.57 percent, and Gazprom Neft added 2.09 percent.

RBC, 27.03.2008, Moscow 15:47:17.Russia is currently reviewing US proposals for the strengthening of transparency and trust regarding the anti-missile defense system, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists today. He explained that, although the US had not abandoned its unilateral plan to deploy a missile shield in Eastern Europe, it had offered a number of steps to ensure that the shield does not harm Russia. However, Russia’s stand was that the US needed to scrap its anti-missile plan and switch to an alternative joint project involving Russia and other countries. This could help lift Russia’s concerns that the shield would be used against it, Lavrov said. Meanwhile, consultations between Russia and the US are still underway in Washington D.C.

RBC, 27.03.2008, Moscow 13:41:22.Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves stood at $502.2bn as of March 21, 2008, up $100m, or 0.2 percent from the previous showing. Coupled with a $21.1bn rise over the previous five-week period, the reserves have now increased by $21.2bn, or 4.4 percent, over the past 30 business days. The rise, which has been the smallest in several years, has been fueled by the euro’s considerable appreciation against the dollar on international exchanges, as well as significantly larger amounts of foreign currencies bought up by the Central Bank on the domestic market. As a result, Russia has been able to somewhat narrow the gap separating it from the world leaders in international reserves, China and Japan. China’s reserves currently exceed $1.65 trillion, having increased by more than $57.3bn in February alone and $61.6bn in January, due to the country’s huge trade surplus. Japan currently boasts over $1 trillion in reserves.

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