Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Goal of Budget Surplus

MOSCOW (Reuters) — The Finance Ministry on Friday confirmed it had proposed that the country should for the first time aim for a budget surplus next year, and said it had raised its forecast for 2002 gross domestic product growth to over 4 percent.

The draft, to be presented to the government this week, foresees GDP growth of 4.3 percent, a budget surplus of 1.21 percent of GDP and inflation of 10 percent to 13 percent.

The government sees this year’s GDP growth at 5.0 percent to 5.5 percent and inflation at 17 percent to 18 percent.

The 2002 budget plan saw industrial output rising 4 percent compared with 3.7 percent in the first half of 2001.

The new 2002 draft also saw the oil price at an average of $22 per barrel for Urals crude.

The 2001 budget was based on a price of $21 per barrel.

The average ruble rate in the new 2002 draft was 31.5 per dollar, compared with a rate of 30 rubles to the dollar this year.

Mosenergo Profits Soar

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Mosenergo said Friday preliminary data showed cash-based net profits more than doubled in the first half of 2001 to 2.37 billion rubles ($80.78 million).

The figure, which was determined according to Russian accounting standards, compares with a cash-based net profit of 1.07 billion rubles a year ago.

Mosenergo said first-half revenues swelled to 21.94 billion rubles from 13.90 billion rubles in the first half of 2000. Cost of goods rose to 16.37 billion rubles from 11.97 billion rubles, while profits from sales rose to 5.67 billion rubles from 1.93 billion rubles.

Oil Licenses Probed

MOSCOW (Reuters) — The newly appointed natural resources minister on Friday launched an investigation into the distribution of oil licenses that might cost some companies their right to develop lucrative deposits.

Vitaly Artukhov ordered his ministry’s judicial service to start legal proceedings, Interfax said. The ministry said the main focus would be on the license for the 475 million barrel Val Gamburtzeva oil deposit, awarded by the state last March to small oil producer Severnaya Neft for just $7 million.

Russia’s top oil producers LUKoil, Yukos, Surgutneftegas, Sibneft, Rosneft and Bashneft protested against the tender result, approved by former Natural Resources Minister Boris Yatzkevich, saying they had each offered $100 million for the deposit.

"The introduction of some new legal arguments will obviously change Val Gamburtzeva’s development, as well as that of some other fields," the ministry said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Severnaya Neft said it was hard to comment on the ministry statement as it gave no concrete details on the new developments.

Rosbank Rated Stable

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russia’s Rosbank said Friday that Moody’s had given it its first rating, which was a B3/NP for long- and short-term foreign currency deposits and E+ for bank financial strength, both with a stable outlook.

Moody’s said in a statement released by Rosbank that the B3 long-term deposit rating was at the ceiling for such deposits in Russia.

It said the rating was underpinned by the relative size of the bank, one of Russia’s 20 largest banks.

"Rosbank’s deposit ratings also take into account the importance of the bank for its parent, the Interros group, one of the largest financial and industrial groups in Russia," Moody’s said.

Interros includes Rosbank, metals giant Norilsk Nickel and some media holdings.

Moody’s said the bank carried the heavy burden of paying the restructure obligations of the failed Uneximbank.