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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

GDP Up 4.1%

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Gross domestic product rose 4.1 percent in the first eight months of 2002 compared with the same period last year, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Wednesday.

GDP expanded 0.1 percent in August in month-on-month terms, Dvorkovich said.

"There was a slowdown in the food and machine-building industries," he said. "As far as GDP structure is concerned, exports were down."

But Dvorkovich said low GDP data for August was no cause for worry as it was only temporary.

"Growth did not stop in August; its rate has slowed down," he said. "We think that in September the situation will be slightly better."

He reiterated the government's annual GDP growth forecast of 3.8 percent to 4.2 percent.

CPI at Standstill

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Consumer price inflation was unchanged between Sept. 1 and 16 after a 0.1 percent rise in the whole of August, the State Statistics Committee said Wednesday.

The flat average daily inflation in the first 16 days of September compared with a 0.003 percent rise in August and an increase of 0.02 percent last September, the committee said in a statement.

Committee officials said last week that they expect consumer prices to stay flat or shrink slightly in September month on month with seasonally lower food prices offsetting a rise in the services sector.

The government is seeking to contain inflation under 14 percent this year after 18.6 percent in 2001.

Yukos Touts U.S. Route

MOSCOW (MT) -- Sending oil tankers straight to the United States from Russia might be more profitable than originally thought, oil major Yukos said Tuesday in a statement.

Yukos sent two oil shipments directly to Houston, Texas, earlier this summer as part of a pilot program to test the economics of such a route. This program was launched shortly after the United States and Russia signed an agreement to cooperate in the energy sector.

"When we analyzed the economics of the first two oil deliveries, we could see that this new export direction looks quite promising," said Nikolai Bychkov, president of Yukos' refining and marketing division. "Our calculations show that the economics of shipping oil to the United States from Black Sea ports can compare favorably with shipping to Europe."

Yukos said it plans to continue shipping Russian crude to the United States through the end of the year.

Irkutsk Name Change

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Irkutsk Aircraft-Building Corp., or IAPO, will change its name to Irkut Research and Production Corp., Interfax reported company president Alexei Fyodorov as saying Wednesday.

The decision to change the company name will be made at the next shareholders' meeting, which is set for the end of the year, Fyodorov said at a news conference. The meeting will also amend the company's charter, he said.

Irkut will be IAPO's legal successor and will preserve the status of a legal entity based in Irkutsk.

The company's strategy is to establish a holding company based on IAPO that will incorporate project organizations, tool-building enterprises and plants to manufacture civilian and defense equipment, Fyodorov said.

IAPO's sales are expected to reach $500 million this year, he said. The company's earnings amounted to 6.74 billion rubles ($213 million) last year.

Putin Applauds Koreas

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the start of work on reconnecting the Trans-Korean Railroad, Putin said in a letter sent to the leaders of North and South Korea, the presidential press service said Wednesday.

Putin said Russia is prepared "to make its best efforts, interacting actively with North Korea and South Korea," in order to "ensure that a transportation corridor is opened linking the Korean Peninsula and Europe."

Earlier this year, Russia agreed with North Korea to link the North Korean stretch of the Trans-Korean Railroad and the Trans-Siberian Railroad, thereby allowing direct rail shipments from Korea to Europe.

Railways Minister Gennady Fadeyev said then that the project would cost an estimated $3 billion.

Once the project is completed, Russia plans to boost cargo transportation via the Trans-Siberian Railroad to 500,000 to 600,000 containers per year from about 45,000 now.

CB Board Candidates

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev has submitted a list of seven candidates for the bank's board to the State Duma for approval, an official with the Duma's budget and tax committee said Wednesday.

The list included First Deputy Central Bank Chairman Arnold Voyilukov and First Deputy Chairwoman Tatyana Paramonova, Deputy Chairmen Viktor Melnikov and Konstantin Koryshchenko, general accountant Lyudmila Gudenko, St. Petersburg branch head Nadezhda Savinskaya and Moscow branch head Konstantin Shor, the official said.

President Vladimir Putin has approved the candidacy list, the official added.

Duma budget committee chairman Alexander Zhukov said the Duma plans to consider the list on Sept. 27.

Thai Trade Visit

BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) -- Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will pay a three-day visit to Russia in mid-October for talks on trade, Thai officials said Wednesday.

In meetings with President Vladimir Putin during the visit from Oct. 16 to 18, the two leaders will discuss measures to increase trade through regular and barter deals, government officials said.

Russia mainly exports steel, chemical products, minerals and fertilizers to Thailand. It imports Thai sugar, rice and clothes.

For the Record

Total wage arrears in Russia decreased 5.3 percent in August to 33.991 billion rubles ($1.07 billion) as of Sept. 1, the State Statistics Committee said Wednesday. (Prime-Tass)

Russia boosted poultry imports 3 percent year on year to 742,999 tons in the first half of 2002, the State Customs Committee said. (Prime-Tass)

Russia boosted red-meat imports, mostly beef and pork, 31.4 percent year on year to 618,743 tons in the first half of 2002, the State Customs Committee said. (Prime-Tass)

Ernst & Young is opening a new office in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the Far East as part of the accounting major's expansion in the Commonwealth of Independent States, the firm said Wednesday in a statement. (MT)