Russian News: May 30th, 2008!

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 14:35:42.Russia’s trade surplus grew 1.7 times to $67.5bn in January-April 2008 compared to the same months a year earlier, the Economy Ministry stated today in a monitoring report on the economic situation in the country in January-April. Russia’s foreign trade jumped 49 percent to $236.1bn and exports rose 1.5 times to $151.8bn. Countries outside the CIS accounted for 85.5 percent of Russia’s exports (up from 84.7 percent), while the CIS’s share decreased from 15.3 percent to 14.5 percent. Russia’s imports climbed 41.7 percent to $84.3bn. The share of countries outside the CIS in Russia’s imports edged up from 84.7 percent to 86.5 percent, while the CIS’s share shrank from 15.3 percent to 13.5 percent.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 14:23:27.According to the Economy Ministry’s preliminary estimates, inflation is expected to reach 7.4-7.5 percent in January-May, the ministry’s monitoring report on the economic situation in the country states. The ministry forecasts inflation to exceed 1 percent in May.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 13:34:19.Trading in RAO UES shares will be suspended on the RTS Stock Exchange’s Classic Market starting June 2, 2008, the exchange said in a statement. Trading in RAO UES’s common and preferred shares on the T+0 market will be halted from June 7, 2008. Trading will be suspended in accordance with the RTS’s action plan, which was put into force in connection with RAO UES’s restructuring as approved by the RTS’s Board of Directors on May 7, 2008.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 13:16:18.Head of Interros and one of the main shareholders of Norilsk Nickel Vladimir Potanin has recommended the managers of the Russian mining and metallurgical company to launch a new round of talks with UC RUSAL on the divestment of energy assets into an independent company, the Russian businessman told journalists today.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 12:57:15.Russia’s investment in projects for the construction of roads, ports and airports until 2020 may amount to $1 trillion, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told a conference today. He stressed that Russia’s innovative development would be impossible if the country failed to use the current favorable situation on the global energy market to boost its competitiveness and implement large investment projects.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 12:25:53.Russia’s social and economic development strategy until 2020 is aimed at maintaining the country’s average annual GDP growth at 6.5 percent, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told a conference “Corporate Governance and Globalization of the World Economy” today. He said that it was a conservative but a realistic forecast, adding that the strategy provided for innovative development. The government plans to draft and approve the document before the end of the summer of 2008.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 11:57:23.An hour and a half into today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the weighted average exchange rate stood at 23.74 RUB/USD. Therefore, the official rate for May 31 – June 2 could be revised RUB 0.07 higher. Given that the dollar gained RUB 0.12 over the previous two sessions, the US currency climbed a total of RUB 0.19, or 0.8 percent, against the ruble in three days. The current developments on MICEX can be linked to the euro’s considerable decline against the dollar on international exchanges. The European currency is now trading at around USD 1.5480, down some 0.7 percent from roughly USD 1.5590 at midday on Thursday. As a result, commercial bank activity has been high at the UTS, where the trade volume topped USD 1.463bn. Meanwhile, the average deal size exceeded USD 5.2m.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Moscow 10:55:02.Russia’s government has drafted a set of anti-raid bills, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told a conference dedicated to corporate governance and globalization of the world economy today. The bill will be committed to the State Duma in the near future, he added.

RBC, 30.05.2008, Chisinau 09:31:01.Russia is not ready to recognize Transnistria’s independence, as the conflict can only be resolved by mutual consent of Chisinau and Tiraspol, head of the State Duma committee on the CIS affairs and relations with Russians living abroad Alexei Ostrovsky told Transnistria’s President Igor Smirnov. At the meeting, the two parties handled social and economic cooperation between Transnistria and Russia as well as ways to settle the conflict with Moldova. Ostrovsky said that although Russia was aware that 96 percent of the population of Transnistria had voted in favor of sovereignty and independence, other countries, the US and EU included, were not yet inclined to recognize it as an independent country. He noted that Moscow was very concerned about Transnistria’s unresolved status and the conditions the people have been forced to live in there.