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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Crude Exports Surge

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Crude oil exports soared 24 percent in January-July compared with the same period last year, while oil products exports rose 5.8 percent, customs data showed Friday.

Customs authorities said crude oil exports from Russia to Western and Central Europe rose in January-July by 6.6 percent to 83.8 million metric tons or 2.90 million barrels per day from 78.6 million tons or 2.72 million bpd in the same period of 2001.

The data also showed that Moscow, heavily reliant on energy revenues, gave private oil firms free rein to boost exports to neighboring Ukraine and Belarus.

Traders believe those volumes are re-exported to the West.

Total crude exports inside and outside the CIS rose 24 percent to 102.9 million tons or 3.56 million bpd from 83.3 million tons or 2.88 million bpd in January-July 2001.

Gas Exports Jump

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Exports of natural gas rose in the first seven months of the year rose 16.5 percent over the same period last year to 109.8 billion cubic meters, an official with the State Customs Committee said Friday.

The customs value of the exports stood at $9 billion, he said, without providing a comparative figure.

Of the total, 78.4 bcm was exported outside the CIS versus 74.6 bcm a year ago.

The seven-month exports to CIS countries totaled 31.4 bcm, up from 19.6 bcm in January-July 2001, the official said.

Trade Surplus Shrinks

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia's overall trade surplus shrank 12.25 percent to $30.8 billion in the January-July period, with exports declining 4.3 percent against the same period a year ago, the State Customs Committee said Friday.

"The foreign trade surplus was $30.8 billion compared with $35.1 billion in the corresponding period last year," the committee said in a statement.

Exports totaled $55.6 billion in the first seven months of the year, a 4.3 percent drop against the same period in 2001. Imports totaled $24.9 billion in the January-July period, an 8.3 percent rise.

The committee said energy resources made up 55.8 percent of Russia's total exports to non-CIS countries in the first seven months of the year. They accounted for 57.7 percent of the country's overall exports in the corresponding period last year.

In the January-July period Russia's top trading partner was Germany, claiming 10.6 percent of overall trade, followed by Belarus with 7.0 percent and Italy with 6.8 percent.

According to Central Bank data, Russia's trade surplus was $47.8 billion in 2001.

Industry Grows 3.8%

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Industrial output rose 3.8 percent in January to August 2002 compared with the same period last year, First Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Ivan Materov said Friday.

Materov said output in August had risen 3.4 percent compared to August the previous year.

He gave no further details.

Government forecasts put Russia's industrial growth over the whole of 2002 at 4.4 percent.

After strong industrial output growth in July, Russia increased its 2002 gross domestic product growth forecast to 3.9 percent from a revised 3.8 percent. In 2001, the economy grew by 5 percent.

Italian Bank Coming

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Italy's largest banking group, IntesaBci, announced Friday that it has signed a protocol of intent with the Central Bank concerning the opening in Moscow of a subsidiary fully owned by IntesaBci.

IntesaBci is to become the first Italian credit institution to open a subsidiary bank in Moscow.

The opening of the new bank should strengthen IntesaBci's position in Eastern Europe, where the group controls several major banks in Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia, IntesaBci said.

No further details were provided.

Kasyanov Eyes Stocks

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The government is expected to look into the problems of the domestic stock market by the end of the year, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told reporters Friday.

The federal government "has not touched" stock market issues for three years, he said without elaborating.

He also said that by the end of the year the government plans to finalize the system of mandatory insurance of individuals' banking deposits as part of the implementation of its banking sector development strategy.

FATF Team Expected

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- A mission from the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering is expected in Moscow soon to decide on removing Russia from the list of countries that have failed to cooperate in fighting financial crime, an official with the FATF told Itar-Tass on Friday.

On Friday, Viktor Zubkov, head of Russia's Financial Monitoring Committee, held a series of consultations in Paris with heads of some of the major committees of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which FATF reports to.

Being blacklisted means that money coming from Russia is subject to vigilant control by the financial and banking authorities of the countries involved.

Car Imports Jump 40%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Car imports in January-July rose 39.3 percent on the year to 80,100 vehicles, the State Customs Committee said Friday.

The imports were worth $716.4 million, up from $475 million in the same period last year, the committee said.

Car imports from non-CIS countries totaled 72,300 in January-July, worth $677.1 million and up from 50,300 cars, worth $426.9 million, in the same period last year.

Car exports rose in the period to 67,100 cars worth $202.5 million, from 52,400, worth $165.1 million in January-July 2001.

The amounts included non-CIS exports of 43,000 cars worth $118.5 million.

No comparative figures were provided.

OMZ Profits Drop

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- The net profit of United Heavy Machinery, or OMZ, declined 17.5 percent year on year in January-June to $8 million under Russian accounting standards, the company said in its financial report Friday.

OMZ said its sales revenues increased to $192.5 million from $142 million over the same period of 2001. The company posted an operational profit of $23 million in January-June, up from $13.9 million over the same period of 2001. Pretax profit was $10.7 million versus $12.2 million in January-June 2001.

Caspian Quality Bank

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The Caspian Pipeline Consortium, shipper of oil from the giant Kazakh Tengiz field to Russia's Black Sea, said Friday it had begun shipping other volumes -- from a Kazakh venture with U.S. Keer-McGee.

Although the shipper's new volumes are small compared with ChevronTexaco-led Tengiz field, CPC described the event as an important step as it means the oil quality bank, set up by CPC shareholders, was now operational.

"CPC's oil quality bank is the first in the former Soviet Union. The bank will allow every shipper to realize the real market value of its oil," CPC director Ian McDonald said in a statement.

The oil quality bank provides for compensation payable between shippers depending on the quality of oil.