Business in Brief

$20Bln to Stop Ruble's Rise



The Central Bank has bought about $20 billion on the foreign exchange market this month to prevent the ruble from appreciating against the dual currency basket, first deputy chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said Friday.

"In April we bought about $20 billion. This decision was intended to prevent the ruble's appreciation," Ulyukayev said. (Reuters)




U.S. Hits Russia on Piracy



WASHINGTON -- Piracy and counterfeiting remain serious problems in China and Russia, despite progress in both countries, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said Friday.

The agency placed nine countries, including Russia and China, on its watch list for worst offenders. It warned that Russia's failure to complete steps required under a bilateral agreement to curb piracy was blocking Moscow's bid to join the WTO. (Reuters)




P&G Tax Claim Dropped



Procter & Gamble's Russian unit successfully appealed a back tax claim of 670 million rubles ($28.3 million), Kommersant reported Saturday, citing officials at the Federal Tax Service and the company.

Moscow tax authorities canceled the entire back tax bill on April 18, avoiding a court case, the newspaper reported. The decision was made after the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia sent a letter to the authorities, Kommersant said. (Bloomberg)




Lufthansa Signs Siberia Deal



FRANKFURT -- Deutsche Lufthansa, Europe's second-biggest airline, said Friday that its cargo unit signed an agreement to use the Siberian airport in Krasnoyarsk as a refueling base for freighter aircraft flying between Europe and Asia.

The airport will be modernized by the end of the year and Lufthansa said it expected to start using it regularly five months later. (Bloomberg)




Baltic Ports Boost Q1 Cargo



ST. PETERSBURG -- Russia's ports on the Gulf of Finland boosted first-quarter cargo 7.9 percent to 24.2 million tons as the country's Baltic terminals expanded their operations.

Primorsk, the country's biggest oil port, handled 18.1 million tons of crude, 1.5 percent more than a year earlier, the Leningrad regional government said in a statement Friday. The Baltic port of Ust-Luga handled 1.6 million tons, 37.5 percent more than a year earlier, the statement said. (Bloomberg)




Turkmens Rush for Dollars



ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmens rushed to buy dollars Friday on rumors that the country's central bank planned to take further efforts to prop up the national currency.

Lines as long as 50 people could be seen outside some official exchange points in the capital, Ashgabat, one day after the bank reset official rates to 16,000 manat to the dollar. Panic set in last week, after President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov said the national currency would be allowed to float against the dollar from May 1. (AP)




For the Record



Promsvyazbank, owned by billionaire brothers Dmitry and Alexei Ananyev, said Friday that it borrowed $175 million from international banks to increase lending. (Bloomberg)

Alfa Bank said Friday that it planned to borrow more than $1 billion this year from other banks to fund growth. (Bloomberg)