Putin's Rainy-Day Fund Prospering as Cash Hoard Balloons

The 13 percent plunge against the dollar last month swelled Russia’s Reserve Fund by 919 billion rubles ($14 billion), almost six times what the Finance Ministry borrowed on local debt markets last year, official data show. The $85 billion fund, established in 2008 to help cushion against economic slowdowns, has given Putin flexibility to stay out of the debt market for a second year and avoid shouldering borrowing costs that

U.S. factory orders fall sharply, order books shrinking

Other data on Tuesday showing fairly brisk sales in January by the country’s leading automobile manufactures also offered a silver lining for a sector that has taken a hit from weak global demand and falling crude oil prices. “It suggests that activity will pick up in coming months,” said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. The department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding