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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

'14% to 15% Inflation'

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Inflation will most likely reach between 14 percent and 15 percent in 2002, which is above the official target of 12 percent to 14 percent, Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Oleg Vyugin said Monday.

"The analysis shows that monetary factors account for 50 to 60 percent of inflation, and the remainder is tariffs and seasonal factors," Vyugin said.

Inflation will be stoked by high oil prices, which bring in dollars the Central Bank has to cover by printing new rubles, he said. Higher prices for domestic electricity and gas, for which the government is responsible, also will contribute.

CB Backs Insurance

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The Central Bank supports the idea of accumulating funds in a single account to cover deposit insurance for the country's banks, including state-controlled Sberbank, Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Andrei Kozlov said Monday.

Sberbank, which controls about 75 percent of the country's retail deposits, had said it wanted its deposit-insurance funds in a separate account.

According to the plan, proposed by the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the government will pay claims in the event of a financial crisis. The scheme would provide full coverage of deposits under 20,000 rubles ($631 million) and 75 percent for deposits above this amount.

UES Reform Suit

MOSCOW (MT) -- A Russian journalist filed suit against the government in the Supreme Court, claiming that a decree on reforming the energy sector is illegal, Vedomosti reported Monday.

Moisei Gelman of the Promyshlenniye Vedomosti newspaper said he bought 10 shares in national power grid Unified Energy Systems for 24.1 rubles last year "to defend the state's interests."

The decree was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov last summer.

Gelman said the reform is harmful for the country and violates his property rights. He said that when UES is split up, the company's profitability and liquidity will suffer. He has no financial claims against the government.

Surgut Field Launch

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Oil major Surgutneftegaz plans to launch three fields in western Siberia with combined reserves of 25 million tons of oil in 2003, the company said Monday.

The Severno-Seliyarovskoye, Severo-Aipimskoye and Severo-Tonchinskoye fields are located in the Tyumen region west of Surgut.

Surgutneftegaz expects its oil output to rise 11.7 percent year on year to 49.2 million tons in 2002. Gas output is projected at 13.2 billion cubic meters, up 18.5 percent year on year.

Surgutneftegaz intends to launch 871 new wells in 2002 and carry out 193 side-tracking operations to increase oil output by 1.5 million tons.

WTO Talks

WASHINGTON (Prime-Tass) -- Russia is intensifying talks with the United States in its bid to join the World Trade Organization, Maxim Medvedkov, the country's chief negotiator with WTO members, said Monday.

The two sides have found they have a common stance on a range of issues, Medvedkov said on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the American-Russian Business Council in Washington.

"Mostly, these are issues related to legislation," he said. "American colleagues agreed that we have made significant progress in dealing with several systemic issues concerning the application of WTO standards."

Disagreements remain, however, on access to Russia's aviation and automotive sectors and insurance, banking and telecommunications, Medvedkov said.

New Gazprom JV

BADEN-BADEN, Germany (Prime-Tass) -- German oil and gas company Wintershall is to set up a joint venture with Gazprom that will invest $700 million to $800 million in developing deep-seated gas deposits in western Siberia, Itar-Tass reported Wintershall board chairman Reinier Zwitserloot as saying Monday.

The joint venture will be on a parity basis and is expected to produce 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year, Zwitserloot said. Wintershall plans to cover all initial investments in the venture.

Ilim Case Put Off

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Kemerovo regional court has delayed an appeal to its decision to order that the Ilim Pulp and Paper Plant sell off shares in the Kotlas Pulp and Paper Plant, Ilim spokesman Svyatoslav Bychkov said Monday.

The appeal will be heard Nov. 4, Bychkov said.

For the Record

The Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant boosted production 2.6 percent year on year to 50,796 vehicles in the first nine months of 2002, the company's press service said Monday. (Prime-Tass)

Carmaker Volkswagen upped Russian sales 12.8 percent year on year through official dealerships to 6,044 cars in the first nine months of 2002, a company official said Monday. (Prime-Tass)

German carmaker Audi AG, a unit of Volkswagen, boosted sales 40 percent year on year to 2,250 cars through official dealerships in the first nine months of 2002, an official with Audi's Moscow office said Monday. (Prime-Tass)

Sweden's Volvo Car International increased sales 5.3 percent year on year to 1,750 vehicles through official dealerships in the first nine months of 2002, a Volvo official said Monday. (Prime-Tass)

French carmaker Citroen doubled sales year on year at its official dealerships to 1,472 vehicles in the first nine months of 2002, a company official said Monday. (Prime-Tass)

Moody's Investors Service said Monday that it has assigned Bank Zenit an E+ financial-strength rating and B2/NP for long- and short-term foreign currency deposits. All ratings carry stable outlooks. (MT)