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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom, Rosneft Deal

MOSCOW (MT) -- Gazprom on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement with Roshelf and state-owned Rosneft to develop the Prirazlomnoye oil field, Gazprom said in a press release.

The agreement proposes putting together a consortium with 50 percent belonging to Gazprom and its subsidiary Roshelf and the other 50 percent going to Rosneft. With 76.4 million tons of recoverable reserves, the field is Gazprom's biggest foray into the oil sector to date.

The German company Wintershall was a partner in the project before Tuesday, when it announced a one-year moratorium on any further investment.

PM: 5.5% Growth

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia is likely to post gross domestic product growth of 5.5 percent this year, slightly higher than has been expected, local news agencies quoted Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov as saying Thursday.

Russia's GDP rise last year was a post-Soviet record of 8.3 percent.

Agencies also quoted him as telling a Cabinet meeting that 2001 industrial output was likely to rise 5.8 percent on 2000 levels.

$50M GKO Auction

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The Central Bank will hold an auction on Oct. 4 for $50 million in hard currency to help foreigners repatriate funds locked in special "S" accounts since the 1998 financial crisis, a Central Bank official said on Thursday.

The Central Bank also said it had sold all of the $50 million it had offered for an auction Thursday. The hard currency was sold at a minimum rate of 31.40 rubles per dollar with demand running at $138.69 million.

CB Sees Lower Inflation

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The Central Bank forecasts annual inflation of 12 percent to 14 percent for next year, Central Bank deputy head Tatyana Paramonova said Thursday, quoting the bank's main guidelines of credit and monetary policy for 2002.

"We forecast a gradual lowering of the inflation level to 12 to 14 percent next year. The government forecast is 11 to 13 percent. The difference is due to the Central Bank taking into account possible changes of prices for Russian exports," Paramonova told a news conference.

The government earlier forecast 11 percent to 13 percent inflation for 2002.

Bulgaria to Fix Deficit

SOFIA, Bulgaria (Reuters) -- Bulgaria's government will render full support to local businesses to help them overcome a deficit of more $1 billion in trade with Russia, Bulgarian Deputy Economics Minister Lyubka Kachakova said Thursday.

"Our aim is to restore Bulgaria's positions that existed before 1985. We will encourage all initiatives in that respect because now trade relations with Russia correspond neither to tradition, nor to potential possibilities," she said.

Bulgaria ran a $620 million gap in trade with Russia in the first half of 2001 versus a $668 million deficit a year earlier, mostly due to a fall in imports rather than a rise in exports. Exports to Russia stood at $57.2 million versus $59.3 million in the first half of 2000 under preliminary central bank figures.

Gambling Tax

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Moscow City Duma increased taxes on gambling that were introduced by the federal government earlier this year, Interfax reported Thursday.

The higher rates will apply to casinos and gambling machines, but will leave unchanged taxation of bookmakers and betting shops. Casinos will have to pay 235 minimum wages per month instead of 233. Minimal wage for taxation purposes currently stands at 100 rubles ($3.40) a month. Every gambling machine will be taxed 0.5 of a minimum wage per month instead 0.4 minimum wages.

Federal taxes for gambling currently stand at 200 minimum wages per table, 7.5 minimum wages per machine.

Norilsk in No Hurry

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Metals giant Norilsk Nickel is in "no hurry" to sell platinum group metals on the spot market, company general director Yury Kotlyar said Thursday.

"Today, there is no need to sell on the spot market because it is feverish, depending on the stock markets, which have collapsed," Kotlyar said. "Precious metals prices are increasing, but first we have to determine what the market's trend is. We prefer selling metals under long-term contracts."

For the Record

Ukraine's Kharkov aircraft maker said Thursday it plans to get the prototype of a modified version of the An-74 plane certified as airworthy in the first quarter of 2002. (Reuters)

Total wage arrears for nonprivate sector employees fell 4.1 percent month on month to 32.73 billion rubles ($1.12 billion) on Sept. 1, RIA Novosti reported.(MT)