Want a Car in Russia? Try Bartering Undies

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 7, 2009 6:26 PM CST

(Newser) – Bartering is coming back in Russia as the credit crunch and tight monetary policy leave buyers short of cash, the New York Times reports. At 3%-4% of total sales, such swaps are rare compared to the 1990s—when 50%-75% of Russian sales were bartered—but economists are noting an upswing. Sneakers, food, and underwear (measured by the thousands of pairs) are hot replacements for cash.

One of Russia's original commodities traders, German L. Sterligov, plans to revive 1990s-style multiparty bartering with a computer database. “We are making a step into the future," he said. Others say bartering, most popular in construction, will be short-lived. “It will take him a couple years to get it right,” said a Siberian businessman. “And then, in two years, liquidity will be back.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right,  speaks with vendors at a  bazaar in the ancient city of Samarkand in central Uzbekistan on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, speaks with vendors at a bazaar in the ancient city of Samarkand in central Uzbekistan on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sits at the wheel of a car at the opening of General Motors car plant outside St. Petersburg in Russia, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sits at the wheel of a car at the opening of General Motors car plant outside St. Petersburg in Russia, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Ferrari cars are displayed just outside  Moscow's Red Square to mark the opening of the new Ferrari and Maserati  showroom in the Russian capital on Saturday, April 28, 2007.
Ferrari cars are displayed just outside Moscow's Red Square to mark the opening of the new Ferrari and Maserati showroom in the Russian capital on Saturday, April 28, 2007.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr.)
Visitors to the annual International Moscow Motor Show look at the new cabriolet BMW Z9 concept car August 23, 2001 in Moscow, Russia.
Visitors to the annual International Moscow Motor Show look at the new cabriolet BMW Z9 concept car August 23, 2001 in Moscow, Russia.   (Getty Images)
393620 03: Chris Bangle (R), Chief of BMW Design WorldWide, talks about the new cabriolet BMW Z9 concept car August 23, 2001 in Moscow, Russia.
393620 03: Chris Bangle (R), Chief of BMW Design WorldWide, talks about the new cabriolet BMW Z9 concept car August 23, 2001 in Moscow, Russia.   (Getty Images)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right,  speaks with vendors at a  bazaar in the ancient city of Samarkand in central Uzbekistan on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009, as he tours the market with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov, 2nd from right.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, speaks with vendors at a bazaar in the ancient city of Samarkand in central Uzbekistan on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009, as he tours the market with his Uzbek counterpart...   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)
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