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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

New Ruble Low


The ruble fell against the dollar for a third consecutive business day Tuesday, hitting a record low 29.04 on the interbank market versus 29.02 on Monday, but dealers forecast a stable market in the next few days as most of the dollar's demand had been satisfied.

The ruble's weighted average for today settlement fell to 29.0366 per dollar in a unified session of eight exchanges after 28.9932 per dollar Monday. Dealers said the Central Bank was not active in the unified trade but posted a dollar offer at 29.05 rubles on the interbank market and sold about $35 million to $40 million.

"The Central Bank has cemented the market so far. All quotes are limited by its offer level," a Commerzbank dealer said.

Based as usual on the results of the unified session, the Central Bank cut its official next-day rate to 29.04 from the previous 28.99.

No. 3 Arms Supplier

The Moscow Times

Russia was the world's third-largest exporter of defense equipment in the 1990s behind the United States and France, Jane's Defense Weekly reported Tuesday, siting figures from France's Defense Ministry.

The authoritative industry journal quoted the French defense minister as saying that France sold $46.3 billion worth of arms between 1991 and 1999, a figure that represented 12 percent to 15 percent of the world market, depending on the year.

From 1991 to 1998, Russia sold $35.6 billion worth of military products, less than world leader America's $83.5 billion, Jane's reported, based on U.S. government data.

Britain was the world's fourth-largest supplier over the same period, with $14.3 billion in sales.

No Kamchatka Outage

The Moscow Times

Unified Energy Systems said Tuesday that a power outage in the Far Eastern region of Kamchatka had been temporarily averted by the delivery of 5,000 tons of fuel to Kamchatskenergo — enough fuel to power the region's only electricity source for five days.

UES said Friday that Kamchatksenergo had only enough fuel reserves to last until Tuesday if no new deliveries arrived. The Kamchatka utility owes $52 million to its sole supplier, state-owned oil giant Rosneft, which has refused to unload a tanker holding 15,000 tons of fuel oil that has been sitting in the region's largest port for the past 10 days until a debt deal is reached.

The 5,000 tons delivered Tuesday were bought from LUKoil, and a UES press release said that another delivery of the same amount would arrive shortly.

LUKoil Drilling


KARACHAGANAK, Kazakhstan — The group developing the huge Karachaganak oil and gas field in northern Kazakhstan will start drilling its first new well this week, consortium officials said at the weekend.

Karachaganak Integrated Organization, which unites BG, ENI, Texaco and LUKoil, signed a final production-sharing agreement on the field with Kazakhstan in January 1998, after holding talks since 1992.

The consortium then started a six-year, $3.5 billion program — Phase 2 — under which KIO plans to take production at the site to 235,000 barrels per day of crude and around 10 billion cubic meters per year of gas by the end of 2003.

Since the FPSA was signed, KIO has boosted output at wells drilled by Soviet producers before the consortium took over the field, but most of its work until now has been building infrastructure to allow production to rise in the future.

Venezuela Oil Deal


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela is offering fellow oil exporter Russia the chance to participate in Venezuela's German refining and marketing network, which it shares with Veba Oel, an official said Tuesday.

The South American oil power is also offering Russia the opportunity to participate in building a new oil refinery in Venezuela, Deputy Energy and Mines Minister Bernardo Alvarez said.

"We have proposed the possibility that they participate with us in the refineries we have in Germany, and also that they think about participating in the construction of a new refinery in Venezuela," Alvarez told local Union Radio.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is visiting Russia, which he thanked for cooperating with the OPEC cartel in supply curbs.

Sibur Eyes $100M


Petrochemical giant Sibur expects total revenues in 2001 to increase two-thirds to around $2 billion and net profit to rise by more than a half to more than $100 million, a senior Sibur official said Tuesday.

Sibur is controlled by natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

Consolidating various holdings in other small companies under Sibur management "alone should raise sales to $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion from $1.2 billion," Sibur vice president Sergei Zenkin said. "Moreover, we are expecting growth in output of about 20 percent, which should mean that total revenues could grow to about $2 billion," he said.

In 2000 Sibur's total turnover under Russian accounting standards was 32.2 billion rubles ($1.11 billion), and net profit was 1.9 billion rubles.

Urals in OPEC Basket?


OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez proposed including Russian Urals crude in the cartel's price basket of crudes during his official visit to Moscow, a source in the Energy Ministry said Tuesday. Rodriguez met Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and First Deputy Energy Minister Ivan Matlashov as well as oil company representatives during the visit, which ends on Tuesday.

"During the talks Rodriguez told the Russian government that OPEC was looking at asking big producers to include new oils, including Urals, in the basket to create a better indicator," the source said. "We'll study the proposal carefully," he added.

The OPEC basket currently includes seven oils — Algeria's Saharan Blend, Indonesia's Minas, Nigeria's Bonny Light, Saudi Arabian Light, Dubai of the UAE, Venezuela's Tia Juana and Mexico's Isthmus.

Rice-for-Fertilizer Deal

The Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand — Thai Deputy Industry Minister Pichet Sathirachawal will visit Russia this week to discuss the details of a deal to barter Thai rice for fertilizer, government spokesman Yongyut Tiyapairat said Tuesday.

Yongyut said at a press conference that Thailand would barter 250,000 metric tons of Thai rice for 50,000 metric tons of Russian fertilizer.

The details of the deal, including price, delivery and quality of the goods, will be discussed at the meeting, the spokesman said.

Yongyut said Thailand and Russia had already signed a memorandum of understanding on the plan in Bangkok.