Russia's consumers have money to spend

Fund management chief Michael Hanson-Lawson describes the enormous potential in Russia's retail sector.

The allure of the Russian consumer cannot be underestimated, stresses Michael Hanson-Lawson, chief executive officer of East Capital Asia, the Asian arm of Sweden-based fund management firm East Capital.

Consumption makes up 63% of Russian GDP, which is the same proportion as in Brazil, he said at the AsianInvestorFinanceAsia Russia Capital Raising and Investment Summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong this week.  

Hanson-Lawson traced the recent history of the Russian shopper, whose spending power lies in its high relative level of disposable income. Housing was privatised in 1991-1992 and given away free to residents -- so there are no mortgage payments to sap their bank...

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