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Russian shares remained steadfastly tied to global market trends and trading activity was slow to pick up after holidays in Europe and the US. The Russian Trading System (RTS) index of leading shares finished almost unchanged over the week to stand at 171.51 points, nudging up just 0.2pc.
Low trading volumes continued to highlight the absence of significant foreign buying. And local buyers also appear to be shunning the market, impatient at seeing no movement out of the 160-180 points trading range.
On the domestic news front, investor are waiting for the outcome of an expected government reshuffle. This has generated speculation that influential trade and economic development minster German Gref -- a key reform figure in the Putin administration -- could be appointed prime minister in place of Mikhail Kasyanov.
Another key issue in coming weeks will be how the government handles the threat to Russian growth of a strong rouble. Central bank chairman Viktor Geraschenko earlier strongly stated that the currency's strength is not a cause for concern, contradicting President Vladimir Putin's recent call for a substantial relaxation in exchange controls. However, this week Geraschenko conceded that a lower exchange rate is indeed necessary. …