Business in Brief

Oil Production May Fall

Russian oil production may fall by between 15 million and 20 million tons this year, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said Monday.

Oil companies are curbing investment "significantly" as crude prices decline, and the government needs to cut taxes to maintain output, Shmatko said in Brussels. (Bloomberg)

Silvinit Sees Output Cut

Silvinit may cut first-quarter output as much as 71 percent from a year earlier on slumping export demand.

Silvinit will lower output by between 500,000 tons and 1 million tons. The company made 1.4 million tons of potash in the first quarter of 2008, it said on April 11. (Bloomberg)

Moscow Jobless Doubled

The number of Muscovites who are either unemployed or underemployed doubled over the New Year's holidays, according to the Moscow Trade Union Federation.

About 290,000 residents of the capital are either jobless, about to be fired, working shorter weeks or on unpaid leave, up from 67,200 on Oct. 1, union chief Mikhail Nagaytsev said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Job Web Site to Be Launched

Russia will launch a web site listing job vacancies to help the unemployed find work as the nation's jobless rate rises amid the global economic slowdown, Health and Social Development Minister Tatyana Golikova said, RIA-Novosti reported.

The site will start operating on Jan. 16 and will eventually be updated daily, she said, and will help job seekers to apply for more than 740,000 registered vacancies nationwide. (Bloomberg)

Oil Duties Seen at $100

Russia may set its export duty on crude oil at $100 to $103 a ton from Feb. 1, down from the current $119.10, said Alexander Sakovich, the Finance Ministry's deputy head of customs payments, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

Fund's Budget to Be Cut

The government cut the national Investment Fund's budget for 2009 by almost half, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said, RIA-Novosti reported Monday.

The fund's budget was cut to 64 billion rubles ($2.1 billion) from 113 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

Wild Orchid's Bonds

Wild Orchid, the country's biggest lingerie retailer, offered to exchange bonds for shares because it will not be able to pay off the bonds in April, president and co-owner Alexander Fyodorov said, Kommersant reported.

Investors owning 1 billion rubles ($33 million) of bonds due in April may exchange them for bonds due in 2012 backed by new stock, Fyodorov said. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

VTB Group agreed to lend USK MOST as much as 10 billion rubles ($322 million) to build infrastructure for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. (Bloomberg)

Gas Plus, an Italian natural gas producer, said it was interested in reaching an agreement for storage and imports with Gazprom. (Bloomberg)