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Bank Rossii Eases Further As Russia's Economy Contracts At A Record Rate

The ECB's Balance Sheet At A Glance.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Russian Corporate Lending and Agricultural Planting Q1 2008

Bank Rossii, Russia's central bank, have stated this morning that they are "concerned'' by the pace of corporate lending, according to a Kommersant report.

First Deputy Chairman Gennady Melikyan is quopted as saying ``Let's slow down a gear....This can end badly.'' at the annual meeting of the Association of Regional Banks. The amount of loans to companies increased by 14 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months and may grow 50 percent this year, Melikyan said, according to Kommersant.

Russian banks lent companies $55 billion in the first quarter, while luring $27 billion in corporate deposits and $16 billion in consumer deposits....... the discrepancy forces banks to increase short-term interbank borrowing using securities as collateral, the newspaper said.

Agricultural Planting

It was also announced today - this time by the Agriculture Ministry - that Russian farmers have planted 82 percent of the spring grain crop for this year.

About 25.5 million hectares (63 million acres) had been sown with spring grains by May 26, or 3 million hectares more than a year before, the ministry said in a statement today. Stocks fell to 16.4 million metric tons of grain as of May 1 from 17.1 million tons a year earlier, Sergei Sukhov, head of the ministry's regulatory department, told reporters in Moscow today.

Stocks are ``a bit lower than we expected'' because more grain was used for sowing this season, Sukhov said.

The ministry expects a grain harvest of at least 85 million tons this year after a warm winter and larger areas sown with grains. Russia produced 81.8 million tons of grain last year. Farmers sowed 1.7 million hectares with corn, or 90 percent of the area projected for the year, as of May 26, the ministry said. The amount of land planted with sunflowers exceeded the original plan by 6 percent at 5.4 million hectares, while 83 percent of the sugar beet target, or 860,000 hectares, had been achieved

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