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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Tatneft Profit Doubles

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Oil major Tatneft said Friday that its 2000 net profit calculated to U.S. GAAP standards more than doubled to 23.73 billion rubles ($817.7 million) from 10.28 billion rubles in 1999.

The company said in a statement that total revenues for last year jumped to 147.17 billion rubles from 61.31 billion rubles in 1999.

Shareholders in the country’s fifth-largest oil producer voted to sharply raise 2000 dividends and increase charter capital 10 times over, the company said.

Tatneft would pay a 600 percent dividend on preferred stock in 2000, up from 150 percent in 1999, and a 300 percent dividend on ordinary stock after a previous 100 percent, Tatneft said in a statement. The dividend would be paid on a 0.10 rubles ($0.003) nominal stock value, equal for both preferred and ordinary shares.

Tatneft stock finished up 2.74 percent at $0.5805 on the Russian Trading System index.

Shareholders also voted to raise the nominal share value to 1 ruble, thereby increasing charter capital by 10 times to 2.32 billion rubles from a previous 232 million rubles, the company said.

$50M Currency Sale

MOSCOW (Reuters) — The Central Bank said Friday that it had set July 9 for a foreign currency auction and $50 million would be offered at the sale.

The auction is aimed at foreign investors, who can use rubles received in a GKO debt restructure to buy hard currency. The rubles are currently effectively frozen in so-called S accounts, but the auction is one of the few ways foreign investors can use the ruble funds.

The last auction was on June 18 and was heavily oversubscribed. Demand came in at $125.87 million, and the rate at which the currency was sold was 30.90 rubles a dollar.

The current official exchange rate, set earlier by the Central Bank for the weekend and Monday, is 29.10 rubles per dollar.

PPI Rises 0.9%

MOSCOW (Reuters) — May producer prices rose 0.9 percent over the month, unchanged from April, and were 21.3 percent higher year-on-year, the State Statistics Committee said Friday.

The committee said in a statement that producer prices had risen 6.6 percent since the start of the year, compared with a 14.4 percent rise in the same period last year.

9.2% Unemployment

MOSCOW (Reuters) — The number of people unemployed in Russia fell to 9.2 percent of the work force in May from 9.6 percent in April, the State Statistics Committee said Friday.

Ruble Falls to 29.10

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Lower overnight interbank credit rates pushed the ruble down Friday as the Central Bank refrained from supporting the currency, dealers said.

The ruble’s weighted average for today settlement fell to 29.0959 per dollar in the unified session of eight exchanges after 29.0832 per dollar Thursday.

Based as usual on the results of the unified session, the Central Bank cut its official next-day rate to 29.10 rubles per dollar from 29.08 rubles per dollar.

"These days we are very much dependent on fluctuations in overnight ruble credit rates. Early [Friday] the overnight rates fell to 8 to 10 percent from 18 to 20 percent [Thursday], and the ruble fell," said Derzhava Bank dealer Irina Zuyeva.

Dealers said the Central Bank, which had intervened heavily earlier last week to support the ruble, apparently did not sell dollars Friday, and some suggested the Central Bank was buying dollars in small amounts in the unified trade.

$4.3Bln Trade Surplus

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia’s April 2001 foreign trade surplus was $4.3 billion, slightly lower than the $4.7 billion posted in April last year, the State Statistics Committee said Friday.

The foreign trade surplus for the period from January to April was $18.8 billion compared with $19.0 billion in the same period last year.

IMF on Debt

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia needs a budget surplus of 1.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2002 to repay principle foreign debt falling due next year without new borrowing, an International Monetary Fund official said Friday.

The government’s 2002 budget draft is the first one since the Soviet era to include a surplus, but surplus foreseen is 1.26 percent, including debt payments.

"If there will be a total surplus of 1.6 percent of GDP, this will provide for paying a part of principle debt," Alexei Mozhin, the IMF’s executive director for Russia, told the Vedomosti newspaper. "But if there will be a zero surplus, some additional resources will be needed to repay principle debt," he added.

The draft 2002 budget provides for $14.2 billion in foreign debt payments, including $6.8 billion in principle.

Mozhin said refinancing foreign debt was a normal practice and the government could easily borrow next year on the domestic market, as well as abroad.