Russian News From Russia: March 6th, 2009!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 06.03.2009, Moscow 13:35:53. Economic growth has slowed in the Russian capital, Windows to Russia!the Moscow government told RBC today. GDP grew only 6 percent in 2008 against 7.7 percent a year earlier, while industrial production growth amounted to a mere 0.5 percent in 2008 compared to 11.5 percent in 2007. Similarly, fixed investment edged up 0.6 percent in 2008 against 6 percent in the previous year, while the average wages grew 28.6 percent in 2007 and 25.6 percent in 2008. The average monthly accrued wages stood at RUB 30,109 (approx. USD 839) in January-December 2008, while the price rise on the consumer market reached 11.9 percent. The purchasing power of working Muscovites grew 1.12 times, and retail trade increased 5.3 percent in 2008 against 5.1 percent in 2007.

RBC, 06.03.2009, Moscow 11:14:40.Russia’s trade balance surplus has allowed the Central Bank to sustain the ruble exchange rate against the basket of two currencies, the euro and the dollar, within the specified band and even purchase the U.S. currency on the market. The regulator’s net purchases of dollars exceeded $860m in February. According to expert estimates, if the global oil prices remain at their current levels, Russia’s trade balance surplus is likely to go up $50bn. If these forecasts are true, the RBC Daily newspaper reports, the ruble is not projected to see any further devaluation.

RBC, 05.03.2009, Moscow 19:07:40.The net foreign currency amount purchased by the Bank of Russia as currency interventions stood at USD 861.8m and EUR 98.97m in February 2009, with all he purchases made on a regular basis, the bank indicated in its documents.

RBC, 05.03.2009, Moscow 18:48:52.Gazprom has confirmed that Naftogaz of Ukraine has paid off the entire amount it owed Gazprom for gas supplies in February 2009, the Russian gas giant said in a statement. Earlier, Naftogaz of Ukraine reported that it had transferred the $50m for the gas shipments still due after it remitted the first payment of $360m yesterday. In February 2009, Naftogaz of Ukraine used around 1bn cubic meters of gas.

RBC, 05.03.2009, Moscow 17:46:22.Russia has not yet received official explanations for security agencies’ actions at Naftogaz of Ukraine on Wednesday, and the government is currently receiving all the information from the mass media, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin told a government meeting today. “We are receiving information mostly from the mass media, while Gazprom’s attempts to obtain an official explanation about the operations by security agencies at Naftogaz of Ukraine have failed,” the deputy PM was quoted as saying.

RBC, 05.03.2009, Moscow 15:49:45.Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced at a government presidium meeting today that he had signed a governmental decree extending a $500m loan to Belarus. He commissioned the Finance Ministry to carry out the decree with no delays.

RBC, 05.03.2009, Moscow 14:39:15.Inflation ran up to 1.7 percent in Russia in February 2009, and 4.1 percent for the year to date. A year ago, similar figures were at 1.2 and 3.5 percent, respectively, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported.