Articles by Courtney Weaver



VTB Plans Layoffs As Bad Loans Swell

VTB Group may lay off as many as 1,000 employees at its retail banking operations as overdue loans threaten to reach 8 percent of its portfolio, executives said Monday at the annual shareholders meeting.

Indexes Finish Week With Mild Rebound

The MICEX and the dollar-denominated RTS, which was touted at the beginning of the month as the world's best-performing equity index, and are again in bear territory.

Number of Russian Millionaires Plummets 28.5%, Report Finds

Russia's population of wealthy people fell 28.5 percent last year, nearly twice the fall experienced by the global population as a whole, Merrill Lynch and Capgemini Group said in a report released Wednesday.

Ministry May Hike Gas Extraction Tax

And businesses who were hoping for a tax break are unlikely to get one.

Lagging Russia Still Has Spot in BRIC

Trailing behind its emerging market peers in terms of capital inflows and facing a sharp economic contraction at a time when China and India are continuing to see growth, Russia is having a hard time making the case that fundamentals are driving its market rally and that it has the financial architecture to sustain these gains much longer.

Court Postpones Ruling on Telenor

A Tyumen court said Wednesday that it would postpone an appeal hearing on a $1.7 billion fine against Telenor at the request of the plaintiff, Farimex Products.

HSBC Targets Rich With Retail Banks

HSBC will open five retail branches in Russia this month as part of a $200 million program to expand its local operations, bank executives announced Tuesday at a news conference marking the first branch's opening.

Good News, Oil Price Foils Market Correction

ItТs tough to play an unpredictable market, even one that most would agree is in need of a correction.

Borrowers Return to Bond Market

Rosselkhozbank is set to issue the first eurobond by a Russian bank since last summer, but the agricultural bank isn't the only corporate taking a dip back into the once-frozen bond markets.

Official Silence on Crisis Is Followed by a Roar

It seems like only a few months ago investors were complaining that they didn't hear enough from the government on its crisis views. Now, it seems they are hearing a little too much.

New Structure of KIT Finance Outlined

The Deposit Insurance Agency outlined the new structure of failed bank KIT Finance on Wednesday, heavily relying on Russian Railways and TransFinCapital to rehabilitate the brokerage -- one of the first victims of the financial crisis last October.

Markets Give St. Pete Forum a Boost

For a country whose markets were among the worst hit last fall, the 13th annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, it seems, couldn't be coming at a better time.

Central Bank Raises Reserve Requirement

Moody’s says that banks need $40 billion to recapitalize in 2009.

Crude Is Back for Now, But Not on Demand

This year’s federal budget, which only recently appeared doomed to an ugly 8 percent deficit, is beginning to look a lot healthier thanks to spiraling inflation, a weakened currency and a surge of optimism.

VimpelCom Sees $273M Net Loss

VimpelCom reported a first-quarter net loss of 8.5 billion rubles ($273 million) because of heavy exchange rate losses, the country's second-largest mobile provider said Thursday.

Hotels Get Creative to Keep Occupancy Up

Hotel occupancy in the first quarter was down about 15 percentage points from the same period last year.

Nizhny Novgorod Tries To Attract New Investors

Things have not been easy for Nizhny Novgorod, the region responsible for producing more than half the countryТs trucks and more than 60 percent of its buses.

Platinum Poised for Growth

Things are looking up for Russia's platinum producers as prices for the precious metal have started to reclaim pre-October levels thanks to new demand from investors and China's growing jewelry market.

Zubkov Proposes Mini-Grain Cartel

Black Sea countries will discuss creating a regional ""grain pool"" when 40 country delegations meet at the World Grain Forum in St. Petersburg next month, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Thursday.

Banks May Need $16Bln in Capital

Banks may need an additional 500 billion rubles ($16 billion) in capital this year to weather an increase in bad loans, a Central Bank official said Wednesday.

Putin Disappointed by Telenor Feud

Breaking his silence over Telenor's troubles, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed disappointment Tuesday that the Norwegian company had been unable to agree on an expansion plan with Alfa Group and insisted that the rule of law would prevail in a related court dispute.

State Moves to Boost Affordable Housing

More and more Russians have the means and desire to purchase their own homes, but in order for that to happen the government needs to boost demand and increase access to affordable housing, the Regional Development Ministry said.

Rally Running Out of Steam

All good things must come to an end, and that end might come sooner rather than later for a recent rally on the global equity markets.

MICEX Gets Volume Back From London

The MICEX Stock Exchange is gaining back some of its lost trading volume after a brutal autumn in which market conditions pushed the trading of many Russian securities onto the London Stock Exchange, Federal Service for Financial Market head Vladimir Milovidov said Wednesday.

Markets Appear to Be Resistant to Swine Flu

During the ongoing economic crisis, the outbreak of a global flu epidemic would seem to be all it would take to put the nail in the world economy's coffin.

Sistema Has Q4 Loss On Plunging Ruble

Sistema, billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov's holding company, reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $713.9 million, compared to a profit of $467 million in the same period the year before, after a fall in the value of the ruble drove down revenues.

Uralkali Posts 2008 Profit Rise of 172%

Uralkali said Tuesday that 2008 profit rose 172 percent year on year to 21.9 billion rubles ($653 million), despite waning demand for its potash fertilizer in the fourth quarter.

Steelmakers Anxious Over Chinese Iron Ore

When the contracts are finalized, Russian producers may see their exports to Asia replaced by local suppliers.

Central Bank Cuts Refinancing Rate 1/2 Point

The Central Bank announced Thursday that it would cut its key refinancing rate to 12.5 percent from 13 percent as the government grows more confident that it has brought inflation and the volatile ruble under control.

Microsoft Unveils $300M Expansion

The company will offer more free services to students and startups.