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Moody's International Rating Agency has recorded deterioration in the mortgage market in Russia and downgraded the deposit ratings in national currency of Sberbank, VTB and its subsidiary bank "VTB 24" and "VTB North-West, Russian, Vnesheconombank, Gasprombank and Bank of Moscow, as well as AHML issuer ratings. There is government participation virtually in all of these structures.

Investment ratings are left at the same level. Deposit ratings in foreign currency for seven banks have been confirmed, whereas Gasprom bank rating is downgraded. Forecasts for ratings are "stable" except for the Bank of Moscow, whose rating forecast was lowered from "stable" to "negative." Moody's Agency explained its assessment by the effects of expanding international crisis impact over the Russian economy and the stability of financial institutions.

According to the RF CB, the outstanding debt amounted to RUR 2.519 billion, or 0.31 per cent of the total debt for RUR to 339.185 billion of mortgage credits, issued in the first six months of 2008.

Over three quarters of 2008, arrears on mortgage credits amounted to RUR 974.5 billion, including overdue arrears in the amount of RUR 4.95 billion, i.e., 0,51 per cent.

Estimates of housing prices for 2009 from different sources are similar and anticipate reduction in housing prices to varying degrees, due to the falling demand.

In the AHML analytical report for 2008, an overall decrease in the number of transactionsacquisitions for bank credit funds is noted. However, in Tatarstan the growth of registered mortgage contracts number growth is recorded from 28 657 in 2007 to 46 084 in 2008, Chelyabinsk Region is in the second place in terms of the number of registered contracts, 33 354 contracts.

At the web-sites of many regional offices of the Federal Registration Service (UFRS) an increased number of mortgage agreements in 2008 is recorded. However, this growth is based on an increased amount of recorded supplement agreements to mortgage contracts.

At a meeting in the Ministry for Regional Development on February 4, Alexander Semenyaka, AHML Director has reported that an additional government support to the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending in excess of already claimed RUR 60 billion will reduce mortgage credit rates to the Russian population from 13-18 per cent to 11-15 per cent.

In the transition to a new stage of modernization of the Russian Armed Forces, inconsistencies occur in the implementation of the Federal Law "On housing mortgage system for military personnel." Participants of the military mortgage programs will not be able to get the mortgage assets, accumulated at their personal accounts, if they resign before three years term since the date of their entry into the funded mortgage program.

According to the Bulletin of the Bank of Russia, AHML has approved granting of guarantees under banks mortgage bonds for inclusion thereof in the lombard list of the Bank of Russia. Therefore, the banks would have an additional opportunity to refinance portfolios of mortgage credits - not only in AHML, but in the RF CB as well. AHML guarantees will be provided only to the banks, that pass the Agency tests and have at least three-year experience in the mortgage market.

Amendments, proposed by The Deputy Andrei Isaev to the Art. 29 of the Law On Banks and Banking Activities prohibit the banks to amend unilaterally the rates on credits, already provided to physical entities. The requirement is applied to the borrowers - physical entities, even if otherwise stipulated in the contract with the borrower. Experts of Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) note, that for the implementation of such radical solution additional funds should be allocated from the budget to offset the banks losses from imposing the regulation.

Deputy Pavel Krasheninnikov has presented to the State Duma the draft law On Amendments to Art. 57 of the Housing Code of the Russian Federation, which removes the prohibition to provide housing facilities under social contracts to the citizens in any other locality, rather than in their place of residence. According to the authors opinion, such prohibition restricts the freedom of citizens migration and choice of residence within the territory of the Russian Federation.

Vladislav Reznik, Chairman of State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, has presented for the State Duma consideration an amendment to the Civil Code, providing legal right for early termination of credit agreements for the purchase and construction of housing facilities. According to the draft law, the borrower is entitled to recover such loans ahead of schedule, having notified the creditor within 30 days before the credit redemption and pay interest for the period of actual usage of credit.

It is planned to review in the first reading the amendments to the Part II of the Civil Code, which remove the requirement for the state registration of sales and rent contracts of residential premises. If the draft law is adopted, it will be necessary to register only the transfer of ownership right for the real estate objects, including residential premises.

The draft law On amendments to the Federal Law" On the assessment activities in the Russian Federation and other legislative acts of the Russian Federation stipulates the procedure for the state cadastral assessment of land and the possibility for contesting thereof. The draft law affects a large number of enterprises and citizens, as assessments of the tax base on land and real estate are based in general on the cadastral value. Furthermore, the cadastral value is used for the estimates of the land, whether in public or municipal property, for the needs of individuals and businesses, as well as in private property for the needs of the state. Amendments to the Law on the assessment activities provide for the transfer of cadastral assessment of real estate to the Self-Regulatory Appraisers, the directly involved authority. The main issue is the precise definition of the of property object and its purposes, including land areas, and make accurate cadastral assessment, which largely depends not only on the object characteristics, but also on the purpose thereof.

According to the Fund of St. Petersburg Property, the city sells about 800 of non-residential real estate objects per year, i.e., approximately 80 per cent of premises, privatized through the auctions for non-residential premises in Russia. As opposed to St. Petersburg, the Moscow Mayor's Office prefers to let its property for rent. The authorities of St. Petersburg lobbied the amendments to the Law On Mortgage, that allowed the use of non-residential mortgage mechanism. State Duma Property Committee has unanimously endorsed the amendments, hoping that the law will support small and medium businesses.

Rospotrebnadzor considered Mandatory life and disability insurance of the mortgage borrower as solicitation and has brought to administrative responsibility Amur Mortgage Agency. In August 2008, FAS has initiated legal proceedings against AHML and insurers on the grounds of breach of Art. 11, Part 1 of the Law On Protection of Competition, which prohibits agreements or joint activities between the parties of the market, hampering competition. As per the outcomes of this case, the final meeting of the FAS Committee will be held on April 27, 2009, where it is planned to develop comprehensive ways for insurers and banks operations with mortgage credits.

In the Order 303 dated December 26, 2008 the Ministry of Regional Development has set up the standard cost of 1 square meter of dwelling premises in the Russian Federation for the first six months of 2009 at RUR 26, 5 thousand, which is by 7,5 per cent less than the same indicator of the second half of 2008 (RUR 28.65), as well as the fair market value for 1 square meter of dwelling premises in the entities of the Russian Federation in the first quarter of 2009. For Moscow, the average market cost of 1 square meter for dwelling premises in the first quarter of 2009 is nearly 4 per cent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2008, and makes RUR 73.8 thousand.

Average market value of 1 square meter for dwelling premises, approved by the Ministry of Regional Development is applied, in particular, as the maximum price, for which the government is buying off of the dwelling premises from developers for social needs, for people resettlement from shabby houses and to provide dwelling premises to military servicemen.

In addition, the average market price of one square meter for dwelling premises, as well as the average cost of dwelling premises in Russia are applied for assessment pf the scope of subsidies, provided to the individuals, who buy housing through the mechanism of government housing certificates.

Factors Contributing to Economic Growth of Added Value in Industrial Sector in E. Astafieva The results of the decomposition of the growth of the industrial production index (added value) in 2008, obtained in accordance with the methodology as stated in the IET work (Factors of Economic Growth26). According to the preliminary estimations, the same as in the previous years, in 2008 the total factor efficiency demonstrated negative growth rates. The decomposition is based on the breaking the economic growth down to the extensive and intensive components, which enable estimating the quality of the growth and forecast further trends of the economic development.

The decomposition of the economic growth is one of the approaches to study the sources for differentiation between the rates of development of various kinds of the economic activity. The growth decomposition is made in accordance with the differential form of the macroeconomic production function, which allows to determinate the contribution of the main factors (labor and capital) in the output growth and get the residue that cannot be explained by the factors. This residue (usually interpreted as the TFE) includes the influence of the factors that were unaccounted in the production function, most important of which are the fluctuations of the production efficiency and the changes in the price situation.

In 2008 the industry demonstrated the diminution of differences in the structure of added value growth rates by kinds of economic activities (table 1). The growth rates of gross added value (GAV) of the processing industries reduced by 6.9 per cent as compared with 2007, and those of minerals extraction and electricity, gas and water production and distribution increased by 2.8 per cent and 1.9 per cent, correspondingly.

It is the processing industry that is the only sector of industry that demonstrates a considerable reduction in GAV growth rates when compared with the previous period, for it increase in the real volume of GAV being 0.9% in 2008 versus the corresponding period of the previous year (as compared with 7.8% in 2007). In concordance with the results of the decomposition, in 2008 the labor input in the output growth rates of this kind of the economic activity is negative, the decrease in labor input being accounted for by the reduction in both the number of the employed at the processing enterprises and in the time worked by them. Despite a considerable reduction in the investments growth rates over the last quarter of 2008, it is the positive growth rates of the volumes of the fixed assets, which are accounted for by the high level of the investment potential accumulated over the last years, that define the positive capital input into the added value growth rates of this kind of the commercial activity. At the same time it should be mentioned that in 2008 the input in output growth rates that was due to the changes in the capital stocks reduced down to 3.0 per cent (as compared with 3.2 per cent ion 2007).

In 2008 there are changes observed in the structure of growth of added value in this kind of economic activity: the growth of processing industries output was totally defined by the changes in the capital input, whereas labor and TFE input lead to the deceleration of this growth. At the same time according to the preliminary estimations the observed decrease in GAV growth rates in this kind of economic activity in 2008 is nearly equally defined by the reduction in growth rates of the input of main factors and in productivity growth rates, though this estimation is likely to be biased since it does not take into account the changes in the utilization of production facilities.

In contrast to the processing industry the GAV growth rates in the minerals extraction sector increased: whereas in 2007 added value growth rates in the extractive sector were equal to (-2.6%), in 2008 they made 0.2%. It should be noted that the labor input in the output growth rates in this kind of economic activity was positive in2008, which is mainly accounted for the increase of hours of work by those employed at the extractive industry enterprises against the background of less considerable increase in the number of employed. The same as before, in 2008 it was the increase in capital stocks (volume of fixed assets) that remained the prevailing component of the GAV growth in this kind of the economic activity, which secures a considerable positive input of the main factors in the output growth rates at the enterprises involved in minerals extraction.

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