Business in Brief

Ruble Up Against Basket



The ruble advanced the most in more than a week on Wednesday against the dollar-euro basket used to control its fluctuations as concerns about the conflict with Georgia abated, luring investors back to the country's stock market.

Russia's currency was at 24.3882 per dollar by 5:57 p.m. in Moscow, from 24.4741 Tuesday. It strengthened to 35.9788 per euro, from 36.1622, a half-percent jump. (Bloomberg)




2009 Inflow Seen at $50Bln



Russia will probably receive $50 billion in net capital inflow next year, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing a draft Central Bank report.

The Central Bank estimates net capital inflow, a broad measure of money entering the country, will rise to $60 billion in 2010 and $70 billion in 2011, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)




Mechel 3-Year Contracts



The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service on Wednesday recommended that Mechel, the coal producer criticized by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin over its prices, move sales from the spot market to contracts lasting at least three years.

The company needs to lower prices for two brands of coking coal, K9 and OS+KS, by 15 percent through the end of this year and begin using long-term contracts from 2009, the service said in a statement on its web site. (Bloomberg)




German Takeover Law



BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law aimed at fending off undesired foreign takeovers, setting limits on investment that reflect concern over the growing strength of sovereign wealth funds.

Sovereign wealth funds controlled by countries including Russia and China manage $3.85 trillion, according to the International Monetary Fund. That sum may be as much as $15 trillion by 2015, it says.

"The majority of foreign investments won't be affected by the draft law," Economy Minister Michael Glos said in a faxed statement after the Cabinet's decision in Berlin. "Germany is and remains open to foreign investments." (Bloomberg)




Azeris Eye Iran Exports



Azerbaijan may start selling oil to be exported to Iran after routes through Turkey and the Caucasus were disrupted by a pipeline explosion and fighting between Georgia and Russia, an Azeri official said Wednesday.

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, or Socar, awarded a tender for 300,000 tons, of Azeri Light crude to Middle East Petroleum, an official with Socar, who declined to be identified, said by telephone. Middle East Petroleum is expected to load oil at the end of September or early October, the official said.

A decision on whether to export the oil to Iran will be taken depending on the status of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, and if that is operating there will be no need to export via Iran, the official said. (Bloomberg)




Georgia Cuts Key Rate



The National Bank of Georgia on Wednesday cut its benchmark interest rate by 1 percentage point to 11 percent to promote economic growth and increase liquidity following fighting with Russia.

"Due to the current war situation and possible decline of economic activities it is appropriate to loosen monetary policy," the bank said in a statement. (Bloomberg)