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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Resource Amendments?

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Thursday proposed submitting amendments to laws on the use of natural resources.

Kasyanov said at a Cabinet meeting that the current scheme of oil and gas company licensing is not optimal and lags behind the country's economic growth.

"Until 1996, more than 60 percent of oil and gas deposits were granted to mineral resource explorers," Kasyanov said. "It is already time to perfect the license tender."

The Natural Resources Ministry is expected to examine 300 legislative requirements and statutory regulations, including 142 bills, in 2002 to 2004.

The ministry's legislative priority is to prepare bills on mineral resource use, licensing of several types of natural resource developers, conversion of land to other uses, regulating marine research on the continental shelf and defining the country's exclusive economic zone.

Reserves Up $500M

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Hard currency and gold reserves rose $500 million to $45.9 billion in the week ending Oct. 4, the Central Bank said Thursday.

As of July 1, reserves have not included the Central Bank's short-term liabilities denominated in hard currency.

Timber Sector Grows

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Wood, timber and pulp output should increase on average between 3 percent and 6 percent year on year in 2003, the Finance Ministry said in a forecast released Thursday.

Industrial wood production is expected to rise between 5.5 percent and 8.2 percent year on year to between 80 million and 82 million cubic meters in 2003. Timber and pulp exports are expected to rise between 1 percent and 3 percent in monetary terms to between $4.4 billion and $4.5 billion in 2003.

KamAZ Output Falls

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- KamAZ saw its truck output fall 9 percent year on year to 14,864 units in the first nine months of 2002, a company spokesperson said Thursday.

Car output rose 5.4 percent year on year to 27,987 units in that period. Tatarstan-based KamAZ produced 18,732 engines, compared with 22,457 in the same period last year.

KamAZ exported 4,980 trucks in the first nine months of 2002, and supplied 1,361 trucks and 3,500 cars to the domestic market in September. No comparative figures were available.

Power Output Down

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Power production is expected to fall by 0.1 percent year on year to 890 billion kilowatt-hours in 2002, the Finance Ministry said in an economic forecast released Thursday.

Power output is projected at 911 billion to 925 billion kwh in 2003, up between 2.4 percent and 3.9 percent compared with 2002.

Thermal power plants are expected to increase their output between 4 percent and 6 percent in 2003 compared with 2002, while nuclear power plants are expected to boost output between 3 percent and 5 percent. Hydroelectric power plants are expected to cut production by 1 percent.

Power production is expected to reach between 934 billion and 963 billion kwh in 2005, a 5 percent to 8 percent increase on last year.

Defense Growth Seen

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Defense industry output is expected to grow between 13.5 percent and 16.2 percent in 2003 compared with forecasts for this year, the Finance Ministry said in an economic forecast released Thursday.

The forecast envisages that the defense sector's output of civilian goods will rise between 14.6 percent and 16.1 percent. Civil goods are expected to take up between 41.9 percent and 42.3 percent of the sector's output.

Exports of civilian goods produced by the defense sector are expected to increase 2.9 percent in 2003 compared with this year's projected production.

Aircraft output is expected to rise between 10.8 percent and 14.3 percent to between 10 and 13 planes and 78 to 85 helicopters in 2003 compared with the amount projected for 2002.

Oil Output Rise

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Oil output is expected to rise 6.9 percent year on year in 2002 to 372 million tons, the Finance Ministry said in an economic forecast released Thursday.

Oil exports are expected to grow between 4 percent and 8 percent year on year in 2003 from this year's projected 185 million tons. Exports are expected to rise between 20 percent and 33 percent compared with 2001.

Coal Output Fall?

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Coal output is expected to fall 5.2 percent year on year to 255 million tons in 2002, the Finance Ministry's said in an economic forecast.

The reduction in coal output is due to consumers' coal stock surplus and to a lower demand for coal, caused by higher prices relative to gas prices.

The ministry said coal output in 2003 is projected at 270 million to 285 million tons, up 5.9 percent to 11.8 percent on the year, while in 2005, Russia is expected to mine 280 million to 305 million tons.

The coal industry's development in 2003-05 involves the upgrade and modernization of active coal mines and deposits, the construction of new facilities and an increase in coal mining in the Far East and Siberia.

Coal output reached 269 million tons in 2001, up 4.2 percent on the year.

Gazprom Bond OKed

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Gazprom's board of directors has approved an issue of 5 billion rubles' ($157.9 million) worth of three-year domestic bonds, the company said Thursday.

Gazprom said in a statement that the bonds would carry a coupon of 7.5 percent paid every 180 days. The placement date is to be set after the Federal Securities Commission has registered the issue.

Mosenergo Payback

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Moscow utility Mosenergo said Thursday it has paid off the outstanding $114 million on Eurobonds issued in 1997, which came due earlier this month.

It paid $109.97 million in principal and $4.61 million on a final semi-annual coupon, Mosenergo said in a statement.

St. Pete Train on Track

ST. PETERSBURG (MT) -- Canada's Bombardier Transportation is to sign a memorandum with St. Petersburg City Hall to construct a $130 million above-ground express train in the city, Interfax reported Thursday.

This project, however, is not to be funded by the city budget.

Bombardier representative Patrice Pelletier proposed the project to St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev at a meeting Wednesday, Yakovlev's press office told Interfax in a statement.