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EMEA: Market round-up

Russia: Finance minister issues warning

Alexei Kudrin, Russian finance minister, warned that spending more of the government's $7 billion stabilization fund would damage the Russian economy. Kudrin, speaking at the Renaissance Capital conference in Moscow, said the government would spend about R10 billion from the fund next year on state salaries and pensions. But he said: "This is already a very serious step forward." He warned against further spending, which much of the Russian cabinet is in favour of, because it would aggravate inflation. He said: "We failed to meet our inflation target last year. It now stands at 8.5%. We are always overheated [because of petrodollars entering the economy]. But the fund is a permanent economic stabilizer that we should keep, because it helps us get inflation under control."

Iran: Mass privatizations approved

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has approved amendments to Article 44 of Iran's constitution to limit the number of strategic economic sectors that must remain under state control. Khamenei approved the changes on May 23, following the Expediency Council's late 2004 ruling that up to two-thirds of the downstream oil and gas, mining, banking, insurance, telecommunications, airline and shipping sectors could be sold.

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