Russian News: July 8th, 2008!

RBC, 08.07.2008, Moscow 12:59:20.Swiss bank UBS is interested in managing the Reserve Fund and the National Welfare Fund, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin told journalists today. Following a meeting with a Swiss delegation headed by Federal Councilor of Economic Affairs Doris Leuthard, UBS representatives expressed their interest in both acting as advisors for the Russian funds and in managing them.

RBC, 08.07.2008, Toyako 11:22:38.The leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) countries have agreed to form specialized funds that could help solve the current food crisis, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told journalists today. He pointed out that Russia had suggested that talks between the agriculture ministers of the G8 countries should be organized, and that a special session, the so-called ‘grain summit,’ should be held to discuss the reasons and consequences of a rise or stabilization in grain prices for the food market. Medvedev also noted that the leaders of the G8 countries had already agreed to take multi-lateral steps in order to influence the food crisis and gradually start using second generation biofuel.

RBC, 08.07.2008, Toyako 10:59:26.During a meeting with journalists today, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed his opinion that the existing financial system was inefficient, instead proposing to make the ruble a reserve currency. Medvedev noted that G8 leaders said during a summit today that neither they nor the other heads of state were satisfied with the current global financial situation. The participants of the summit discussed the possibility of bringing the methods and objectives of existing financial institutions in line with the economic realities, Medvedev said, adding that the situation with a fairly weak dollar and an overly strong euro was raising concerns among Russia’s partners. He pointed out that Russia needed to promote the idea of making the ruble one of the reserve currencies.

RBC, 08.07.2008, London 11:12:54.Severstal has completed the acquisition of US steel producer WCI Steel for $140m, the Russian steelmaker said in a press release today. Citi and Raymond James acted as Severstal’s financial advisors for the deal, whereas Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP was its legal advisor.

RBC, 07.07.2008, Toyako 18:10:18.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has met with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy today, Presidential Aide Sergei Prikhodko told journalists, adding that this was the first meeting of the two Presidents. During the talks, Medvedev praised Russian-French relations and the dynamics of bilateral trade. The leaders also discussed the implementation of major investment projects, Prikhodko said. Among other issues was bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in the automobile industry, and here the work of French automobile companies, such as Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen, in Russia came in for special praise by the Russian President. Prikhodko noted that the Presidents had also discussed Russia-EU relations and that Sarkozy had promised that France would provide support to Russia in this respect.