International research

Russia’s former Minister of Economic Development, Ms Elvira Nabiullina, assumed her new role yesterday as governor of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).
The Russian parliament has ratified the country’s membership of the WTO, approving its entry into the organisation from August 2012. Russia has been allowed a long transition period (up to eight years) to adjust to the entry which is particularly important for the agricultural and machinery sectors.
- Access to the domestic Russian bond market is due to become significantly easier in the second half of 2012 with the creation of the central securities depository (CSD) and the ability of foreign nominees to open accounts.
- Government bonds will become euro-clearable first, followed by corporate bonds.
- With the increase of international investor volume in the local market, volatility and yields can be expected to decrease.
As widely expected, Vladimir Putin has won the presidential election of 4 March 2012. His result was 63.8% according to preliminary election results on the base of 99.2% of ballots processed. While this is lower than the 71.3% he enjoyed in 2004's election, it shows that recent protests have largely failed to reduce his credibility as leader.
Taking their first step towards complete integration, the legally merged MICEX and RTS stock exchanges opened for trading on Monday 19 December, thereby following in the footsteps of other recent mergers such as that of the NYSE with Euronext. The RTS stock markets have been transferred to MICEX as they were, with no changes in technology. The markets remain categorised as Main market, RTS Standard and RTS Classica, and there are still several structures involved in depositing assets, clearing and settlement. The next stage should lead to optimising technology and the fully integrated exchange should be completed by early 2013, in time for a planned IPO.
In Russia, the world’s largest oil producer, taxes from the oil sector account for nearly half of federal budget revenues.
Oil plays a vital role in ensuring economic stability as well as the sustainability of public finances.
While protests over alleged irregularities after Sunday's parliamentary vote in Russia caused Russian stocks to drop and the rouble to lose ground, we view the election results as not too surprising and see the negative market reaction as somewhat exaggerated.
Of Russia’s 141.9 million population, some 104 million live in cities. The country is vast — over 17 million km2 — spreading from Europe to the Pacific. The Ural mountains divide Russia into two unequal parts, European in the west and Asian in the east. Although covering only 25% of the territory, the European portion is home to 78% of Russians and most of the country‘s 11 cities of more than 1 million people are located there, including the two largest — Moscow (10.6 mn) and Saint Petersburg (4.6 mn). Its rapidly developing economy has been accompanied by a remarkable rise in household disposable incomes which has made Russia Europe’s largest consumer market.