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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

PM: IMF to Advise

Reuters

Russia, which has refused to sign an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, will continue to draw upon the experience of international financial organizations, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Tuesday.

The government said last week it would not sign a one-year stand-by deal with the IMF as it no longer needs the Fund's cash, but the Fund is still expected to monitor the economy on a regular basis and offer advice.

"We will still be guided by the experience and knowledge of international financial organizations," Kasyanov told an economic conference, adding that such a dialogue would allow Russia to identify any policy shortcomings and set targets.

Kasyanov pointed to completing tax, land, housing and pension reforms, restructuring so-called natural monopolies and eliminating red tape as key targets for 2001.




Gas Tax Protest

The Moscow Times

The Voronezh regional prosecutor's office supported local gas station owners Tuesday by taking a case against an imputed tax to the local Duma, said Gennady Boyev, president of the Voronezh Fuel Association.

When imputed revenue is taxed, it means that a company's take is calculated beforehand and the tax payment is demanded up front.

Ninety percent of Voronezh's gas stations shut down in protest earlier this week after the tax was implemented. According to Boyev, 40 percent of the stations will go bankrupt if the tax remains in effect.

The gas deficit is being keenly felt by city residents, who have formed lines as long as two kilometers waiting for a fill-up. Only 16 gas stations in the region — all owned by No. 2 oil major Yukos — are operational.




Sedmoi Invests in Farm

The Moscow Times

Sedmoi Kontinent, one of Russia's largest retail chains, is planning to invest more than $1 million into developing milk and meat production at the Moscow region's 4,000-hectare Shapovo farm, said Vladimir Karnaukhov, a Sedmoi Kontinent board member, on Tuesday.

The retailer acquired the controlling stake in bankrupted Shapovo farm last year for several hundred thousand dollars. The farm now produces 10 tons of milk per day — 1.5 tons of which is sold at Sedmoi Kontinent's 15 supermarkets. The farm also supplies 4 tons of milk every two days to Wimm-Bill-Dann and 1.5 tons every two days to French Danone.

Sedmoi Kontinent is planning to increase production to 15 tons a day and sell milk under the Sedmoi Kontinent brand, said Karnaukhov. It is the only retail chain in Russia to produce its own goods.




Grids to Be United

The Moscow Times

KIEV — Russia and Ukraine are planning to unite their power grids on April 15, a Ukrainian government source told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

Frequency of the electric current in Ukraine has been stable at the 50-hertz level for more than a month, allowing for the grids to be reunified after a two-year break.

The presidents of both countries signed a memorandum on power grid unification in February. Technical agreements remain to be signed between Russia's Unified Energy Systems and Ukraine's Energorynok company.




Kudrin: $144Bln Debt

Reuters

Russia's total foreign debt equaled $144 billion as of Jan. 1, Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin said in an interview published Tuesday.

Kudrin, who is also finance minister, told the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda that hearty economic conditions in 2000 had eased pressure on the budget, but things looked to be tougher this year.

"Now our task is to live according to our means during a less positive year, and 2001 looks to be one such year," Kudrin was quoted in the newspaper as saying.

However, Kudrin said Russia may not need foreign credits in 2001-02 if economic reforms were implemented. "This year we are carrying out such reforms, which means we do not need credits. [And] I think they will not be required next year if we implement those reforms that have been planned."

Kudrin also said inflation this year could exceed the government's 14 percent forecast by 1 percent to 1.5 percent.

"Basic monetary and fiscal policy is under complete control as of today and the rate of inflation should slow [after about 7 percent in the first quarter]. The question is whether or not we will exceed 14 percent," Kudrin told an economic forum.




Power Exports to Russia

Reuters

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuanian utility Lietuvos Energija said Tuesday it has signed a one-year, 7-billion-kilowatt-hour export deal with Unified Energy Systems, with supplies to start in a few weeks.

Under the deal, 5 billion kilowatt hours will go to Belarus and 2 billion kilowatt hours to the Kaliningrad enclave sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland.

"Lietuvos Energija signed the … agreement and passed the documents to Inter RAO UES. It is expected to sign the deal after agreeing on details with Belarus Belenergo power utility," LE spokeswoman Aurelija Trakseliene said

Trakseliene also said that Trakseliene exports could start within two weeks after the Russian firm provides payment guarantees for the energy supplied.

Local media have said the electricity could be exported to Belarus at 4.4 Lithuanian centas per kilowatt hour and at 4 centas to Kaliningrad.