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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Ruble Appreciates 2.5%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The ruble appreciated 2.5 percent in real terms against the dollar in January-September, the Central Bank said Wednesday.

In September, however, the ruble depreciated 0.2 percent in real terms against the dollar, the bank said.

In January-September, the ruble depreciated 6.4 percent in real terms against the euro, while in September the ruble depreciated 0.3 percent against the euro.

Cash Supply Up 15%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The amount of cash rubles in circulation excluding pre-1997 notes rose 14.86 percent in January-September to 717.160 billion rubles ($22.6 billion) as of Oct. 1, the Central Bank said Wednesday.

The bank said the amount of cash in circulation, including old Russian notes issued before 1997, amounted to 718.238 billion rubles as of Oct. 1.

Gazprom Adds $200M

LONDON (Reuters) -- Gas behemoth Gazprom increased its recent seven-year bond on Wednesday to $700 million from $500 million, lead managers Credit Suisse First Boston and Schroder Salomon Smith Barney said.

The new tranche pays a semiannual coupon of 10.5 percent and was priced at 100.625, to give a yield of 10.37 percent. The initial tranche, issued on Oct. 9, was priced at par.

The bonds are puttable in October 2005, meaning that investors can sell them back to the company at 100 percent of face value.

Pension Fund Revenues

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The State Pension Fund's revenues totaled 27 billion rubles ($851 million) in January-September, fund Chairman Mikhail Zurabov said Wednesday at a Federation Council hearing into pension reform.

He also said the fund's revenues are expected to total 40 billion to 41 billion rubles in 2002, up from the initially planned 38.8 billion rubles.

He said that 38 percent of the Pension Fund's resources are invested in government securities denominated in foreign currency and yielding more than 10 percent, and 62 percent in ruble-denominated government securities yielding more than 17 percent.

Kiev Gas Debt Woes

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The intergovernmental agreement on settling Ukraine's $1.4 billion debt to Russia for supplied gas may have to be altered, Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Vitaly Gaiduk said Wednesday.

None of the options currently being discussed will result in a solution, he said.

Gaiduk noted that the accord might have to be changed because the current agreements do not allow gas giant Gazprom to avoid heavy taxation on debt repayment proceeds, which would result in a considerable amount of debt repayments.

CB Law Amendments

MOSCOW (MT) -- The State Duma on Wednesday approved in the first reading amendments to the law on the Central Bank, allowing the bank to increase its number of inspections of commercial banks.

Interfax quoted presidential representative Alexander Kotenkov as saying that the presidential legal department strongly opposes the bill.

"The concept of these changes contradicts the general approach toward further liberalization of the economy," he said.

EBRD Lends $36M

MOSCOW (MT) -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced its plans to provide a $36 million loan to No. 1 supermarket chain Pyatyorochka, the bank said Wednesday.

Pyatyorochka plans to spend $216 million to double its chain of 84 stores over the next three years. It expects its annual turnover to jump from $200 million last year to $700 million in 2003.

Yukos Profit Guess

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- No. 2 oil firm Yukos is likely this week to report 50 percent to 70 percent net profit growth in the second quarter of 2002 compared to the previous quarter, a poll of analysts showed Wednesday.

Analysts said Yukos' revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were also likely to have grown, mainly due to stronger international and domestic crude oil and refined product prices, as well as a tight control over costs and rising oil output and exports.

It posted net profit of $462 million in the first quarter of 2002, revenue of $2.01 billion and EBITDA of $692 million.

Gazprom Told to Rebid

VILNIUS, Lithuania (Reuters) -- The Lithuanian government chose not to halt talks on Wednesday with Gazprom, the only bidder for a 34 percent stake in gas utility Lietuvos Dujos, and will ask the gas giant to improve its offer.

Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas told a meeting of his Cabinet that the decision to continue the privatization tender did not imply that the government was ready to accept the terms of a preliminary offer that Gazprom submitted on Sept. 26.

"It must be understood that the real negotiations are only now beginning," Brazauskas said.

Lithuanian officials have said they were unhappy with some of the conditions that Gazprom was demanding.

They have declined to comment on media reports that the Russian firm was offering to pay just 80 million litas ($22.86 million) for the shares, significantly less than a German consortium agreed in May to pay for an equal stake in the utility.

For the Record

Russian beef imports are expected to keep rising next year, hitting 740,000 metric tons, 6 percent above the 2002 estimate, and 13 percent above the 2001 level, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report. (Prime-Tass)

Russian broiler chicken meat imports are expected to reach a record level of 1.3 million metric tons in 2003, up 7 percent year on year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a special report. (Prime-Tass)

Russian pork imports are expected to increase slightly to 710,000 metric tons in 2003, up from the 2002 estimate of 700,000 tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a special report. (Prime-Tass)

Smolensk-based Kristall, the largest producer of finished diamonds in the former Soviet Union, exported $190 million worth of gems in the first nine months of 2002, up 26.7 percent on the year, Interfax reported Wednesday. (MT)

Tobobank, UES, Moskvich and MiG owe City Hall a total of 4 billion rubles ($126 million), Interfax reported city finance minister Yury Korostelyev as saying Wednesday. (MT)