Firms Return to Barter as Ruble Falls

Russian companies are starting to return to the kind of barter system that developed after the fall of the Soviet Union as they abandon the ruble and buy dollars instead of paying bills, Troika Dialog said.

"Companies are minimizing working capital and failing to make payments so as to convert rubles into dollars or euros," Troika strategists Kingsmill Bond and Andrei Kuznetsov wrote in a report distributed to investors Monday.

"The impact is major problems with receivables and a return to barter trades, an issue which plagued Russia in the 1990s."

Troika wrote the report after meetings with executives from two dozen companies based in various regions of the country, Kuznetsov said in an e-mail interview Monday.

The currency lost 16 percent against the dollar last year and fell 1.7 percent to 31.05 per dollar Monday.