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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Ruble Viewed as Stable

MOSCOW (Reuters) — The ruble firmed against the dollar on Monday on a shortage of the national currency, and dealers forecast it would be stable this week.

The ruble’s weighted average for today settlement edged up to 29.3068 rubles per dollar from Friday’s 29.3408 in a unified session of eight exchanges.

Based as usual on the results of the session, the Central Bank hiked its official next-day rate at 29.31 per dollar after a previous 29.34.

"The market is overbought [on the dollar] and is very sensitive to overnight ruble credit rates. When they go up even slightly the dollar is on sale," said Raiffeisen bank treasurer Sergei Monin.

He said the rate fluctuated in the 29.32 to 29.34 rubles per dollar range for today delivery as overnight rates rose to 10 percent in the morning and slipped to around 8 percent later.

Grain Forecast Up

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia expects to harvest 72 million to 75 million tons of grain this year, up from 65.4 million tons in 2000, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev was quoted Monday as saying.

If confirmed, the figure would give Russia enough grain for internal consumption and also for exports.

Prime Tass quoted Gordeyev as giving the forecast during harvest celebrations over the weekend in Krasnodar, a town at the center of one of the country’s breadbasket regions.

Lobby group the Grains Union and leading analyst SovEcon said the minister’s forecast was realistic.

"We get estimates from different sources, but they all give figures close to this forecast — between 70 million and 75 million," said Alexander Yukish, president of the Grains Union.

SovEcon estimates the harvest at 71 million to 76 million tons.

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s attache in Moscow in early August made a less optimistic forecast for Russia’s grain harvest of 69 million tons.

Sugar Quota Auction

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia may hold an auction in October for the rights to import raw cane sugar next year within a 3.65 million tons quota, an Economic Development and Trade Ministry official said Monday.

"The auction this year may take place a month earlier than last year," said Yury Dimitriev, deputy head of the ministry’s tariff policy department.

An auction to award the rights to import sugar at a 5 percent discount tariff rate in 2001 was held Nov. 27 last year at Moscow’s Eurasian Commodities Exchange.

Traders paid $45 to $61 per ton for the right to import sugar within the quota.

Sugar imported outside the quota next year will be liable to a 40 percent duty but not less than 120 euros per ton.