Russia, China sign $3.5 billion deal
Russia and China signed agreements worth $3.5 billion, but were still working out the details of a mega-energy deal. The handshakes came when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was in the Middle Kingdom to give a boost to energy, political and military ties. The agreements include $500 million loans each from two Chinese banks to counterpart Russian institutions. Chinese investments in construction industry plants in Russia are also part of the plan. However, talks are continuing in the energy sector. This is expected to be a gas-for-loans deal similar to a $25 billion oil-for-loans deal already concluded. Russia's cash-strapped energy companies need Chinese funding, while Beijing has welcomed the chance to further diversify sources for energy needed to fuel its fast-growing economy.