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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

IMF Postpones Visit

Reuters IMF Postpones Visit

The International Monetary Fund has postponed a Moscow visit to July or August from June 13, a Finance Ministry source said Wednesday.

The source told reporters that the government had received a letter from the IMF about the delay, but with no explanation of the reasons behind it.

"The main thing is for them not to arrive at the start of August," the source said, adding that early August was when the Finance Ministry would be working on details of the 2002 draft budget and unable to dedicate attention to an IMF mission. The source said the government wanted the IMF to arrive as soon as possible.

The IMF has said it wanted to send a mission to Moscow after the main parameters of the 2002 draft budget had been readied, but before the Cabinet considered it.

The Cabinet is scheduled to consider the 2002 draft budget July 7. The source said the Finance Ministry had not yet prepared the draft.




Moscow Draws $20Bln

The Moscow Times

Investment in the Moscow economy amounted to some $20 billion over the past three years, RosBusinessConsulting reported Moscow Deputy Mayor Valery Shantsev as saying Wednesday.

Direct investments amounted to 16 percent. The record investment volume in Moscow was $8 billion in 1997, while the city drew $4 billion in 2000.

Shantsev, speaking at an investment conference, said relations between city officials and investors should become more open and supported an equal attitude toward all investors.




Japan in Tranport Deal?

The Moscow Times

Russia has invited Japan to take part in creating international transport lines from North to South Korea and across Siberia, Prime-Tass reported Deputy Transport Minister Vladimir Yakunin as saying Wednesday.

Russia has a well-developed transport system, including the Trans-Siberian Railway, and provides a natural link between Europe and Asia, Yakunin said at the first Russian-Japanese forum. Japan could have a noticeable role in those projects, he added.

Russia, India and Iran signed an agreement in September 2000 on a transport route from the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia through Iran and Russia. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Persian Gulf states and the Baltic nations have made clear their intention to join the project.

The projected cargo would reach 15 million tons a year and transport would be two to three times faster than via the Suez Canal.




VTB Posts $20M Profit

The Moscow Times

Vneshtorgbank, or VTB, assets grew by a third in the first quarter of 2001 and lending in the real sector of the economy rose by 26 percent, Interfax reported VTB head Yury Ponomaryov as saying Wednesday.

VTB posted a pretax profit of 581 million rubles ($19.9 million) for the quarter, while assets stood at 148 billion rubles.

The bank's loan portfolio increased by $280 million in that period, and interest income on loans was up 77 percent year-on-year, Ponomaryov told a news conference.

He said the bank plans to step up expansion, opening three branches this year and five or six in 2002.

Ponomaryov said VTB currently owns four foreign banks — in Vienna, Cyprus, Zurich and Luxembourg. The foreign network allows the bank to provide a wider range of services to Russian clients, he said.




Gas Exports Drop

The Moscow Times

Gas exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States dropped over the past four months to 44.1 billion cubic meters, down 7.7 percent compared with the same period last year, Prime-Tass reported Gazexport as saying Wednesday.

Gazexport, the exporting arm of Gazprom, said exports to Western Europe fell in the period to 29.8 bcm, down 7.1 percent, while exports to Eastern Europe fell 8.95 percent to 14.3 bcm.

Russia exported the most gas to Germany (10.6 bcm), followed by Italy (7.4 bcm) and Turkey (3.9 bcm).




RTS Moves Up 1.62%

Reuters

The ousting of Gazprom chief executive Rem Vyakhirev gave Russian shares a late-day boost Wednesday, but traders said volumes by close were still low and that the market remained cautious overall.

The key RTS index overcame a slow start to end 1.62 percent up at 205.55 on $16.7 million trade, while the broader Reuters Russian composite rose 2.58 percent to 1,248.36.

Gazprom shares on the Moscow Stock Exchange ended up 2.48 percent at 12 rubles (41 cents) after spiking by more than 5 percent.

The reaction of the rest of the market showed up in bellwether stock, national power monopoly Unified Energy Systems, which closed 3.37 percent higher at $0.1044. Top oil producer LUKoil added 2.44 percent to $12.60.