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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Looking Back ... Dec. 5 to 11

  • Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Tuesday pounced on German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder’s surprise announcement over the weekend that Berlin may be willing to trade some of Russia’s billions of dollars in debts in return for shares in Russian companies. Kasyanov said the government was ready to discuss — with Schr?der’s help — the debt-for-shares scheme with other members of the Paris Club of sovereign creditors, to which Russia owes a total of $43 billion. Kasyanov on Wednesday ruled out widespread speculation that state-owned monopolies Unified Energy Systems and Gazprom were prime targets, dismissing the idea because they are being restructured.

  • Also Tuesday, the Moscow city government unveiled an ambitious plan to create 2.5 million jobs and 220,000 small companies over the next three years. Mayor Yury Luzhkov said City Hall was prepared to spend up to $40 million on the project.

  • On Thursday the Central Bank introduced new regulations establishing a set of accounts that will allow it to better monitor money transfers by foreign companies and individuals. The new K-accounts replace T-accounts used by corporations and retail clients, ruble corresponding accounts of foreign banks and I-accounts used for investment purposes.

  • President Vladimir Putin on Friday gave the green light to a sweeping restructuring of the nation’s vast state-owned television and radio network that could result in its partial privatization. Putin agreed with the proposal by the Press Ministry and Communication Ministry to revamp All-Russian State Television and Radio Co., or VGTRK, and ordered the ministries to draft the documents needed to approve it.

  • International ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday, following the completion of the restructuring of MinFin tranche 3 bonds, upgraded Russia’s foreign currency issuer rating to B minus from SD, or selective default.

  • Palladium prices surged to an all-time high of $902 a troy ounce Friday as consumers pursued metal amid uncertainty over exports from top supplier Russia, despite a Russian pledge that steady shipments would start in January. Giant Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s sole producer, said it would start shipping significant volumes of metal to Japanese consumers under term of contracts in January. Russia produces about two-thirds of the world’s palladium and supplies have been erratic since 1997. Fears that 2001 will be no different could push prices even higher by year-end.