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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Gazprom Output Boost

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Gazprom boosted gas output in 2002 by 2 percent after several years of production decline, the Energy Ministry said Friday.

The provider of one-quarter of Europe's gas produced 523.79 billion cubic meters in 2002, up from 511.89 bcm in 2001, thanks to output from a new Arctic field that came on stream in late 2001, official data showed.

The company, which controls one-fifth of the world's gas reserves, has promised to increase output to 530 bcm in 2003 and keep it steady at these levels for another three to five years.

Gas output rose to 595.31 bcm in 2002 from 581.39 bcm in 2001. Major oil companies produced 34.81 bcm, while medium-sized gas companies, including gas trader Itera, produced 36.49 bcm.

Wheat Export Rise Seen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Wheat exports are expected to rise to 9.5 million tons in 2002-03, up 2 million tons from previous estimates, and will cut into projected U.S. wheat shipments, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Friday.

The European Union is now expected to import 9.5 million tons of wheat from global sources, up from 8 million tons projected by the department in December.

VEB Buys Bank Stake

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Government payment agent Vneshekonombank has completed the purchase of a 94.64 percent stake in state-owned Roseximbank, a banking source said Friday.

The purchase was carried out in accordance with a government ruling signed Oct. 25, 2001.

The ruling envisages VEB's purchase of Roseximbank's total new share emission for $50 million in the ruble equivalent to increase the bank's capitalization and to ensure that Roseximbank meets its targets.

Roseximbank, recently created to assist in the promotion of Russian exports, is not yet fully operational.

Baltika Export Hike?

MOSCOW (Prime Tass) -- No. 1 brewer Baltika plans to increase exports in 2003 by 76 percent to 16 million decaliters, or 8 percent of its predicted output for the year, a company representative said Friday.

The St. Petersburg-based brewer will also dip its toes into Asian markets this year with trial deliveries to South Korea, Japan and China.

Fundamental to the company's expansion in the east is its $50 million brewery in Khabarovsk in the Far East, which is due to open in the first half of the year, the representative said.

Timber Exports Soar

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Timber exports in January to November 2002 rose 16.2 percent year on year to 33.7 million cubic meters, a State Customs Committee spokesman said Friday.

The spokesman said that in monetary terms timber exports increased 18.8 percent year on year in the period to $1.5 billion.

Power Exports Up 6%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Power exports in January to November 2002 rose 6.2 percent year on year to 12.7 billion kilowatt-hours, the State Customs Committee said Friday.

The value of exported power in the period was $220.4 million, up 26.7 percent year on year.

Russia exported 9 billion kwh of power in January to November to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States, up 3.5 percent year on year, at a value of $163.6 million, up 18.6 percent.

Nickel Exports Up 54%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Exports of unprocessed nickel rose 53.5 percent year on year to 258,300 in January to November 2002, an official with the State Customs Committee said Friday.

Nickel exports in the period were worth $1.576 billion, up 62.5 percent year on year. Almost all the exports went to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Nickel exports had declined 5 percent year on year in 2001 to 188,400 tons worth $1.065 billion, down from $1.702 billion in 2000.

Aluminum Exports Fall

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Primary aluminum exports fell 11.3 percent year on year to 2.531 million tons in January to November 2002, an official with the State Customs Committee said Friday.

In monetary terms, aluminum exports fell 22.2 percent to $2.629 billion.

Russia's aluminum exports to other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States totaled 2,300 tons in the period, worth $3.3 million.

Ferrous Export Boost

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Ferrous metal exports increased 12.6 percent year on year in January to November 2002 to $5.78 billion, the State Customs Committee said Friday.

Ferrous metal exports to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States reached $5.49 billion, up 12 percent year on year.

Meat Imports Up 32%

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Red meat imports, mostly beef and pork, rose 32.1 percent year on year to 997,434 tons in January to November 2002, the State Customs Committee said Friday.

Red meat imports from outside the Commonwealth of Independent States rose 32.6 percent to 880,263 tons. Russia imports beef and pork mainly from the European Union.

The government plans to impose annual import quotas for beef and pork to reduce imports, giving a boost to domestic production.

Poultry Imports Rise

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Poultry imports rose 1.2 percent year on year to 1.257 million tons in January to November 2002, the State Customs Committee said Friday.

The value of the poultry imports in the period rose 9.8 percent to $744.1 million.

The increase in import volumes follows a brief decline caused by government restrictions on U.S. poultry imposed in March. But imports were quick to recover, as purchases from Brazil and the European Union were boosted.

Ochakovo Minsk Plans

MINSK, Belarus (Prime-Tass) -- Beer and soft drinks major Ochakovo plans to invest up to $30 million in upgrading the Slutsk brewery in Minsk, a source at the Slutsk said Friday.

Ochakovo aims to boost the brewery's capacity from 1.5 million decaliters to 5 million decaliters per year and begin producing wine and high-quality malt.

Ochakovo is expected to take control of the brewery, which is currently unprofitable, the source said.

Coal Imports Drop

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Russia exported 37.8 million tons of coal in January to November 2002, down 0.1 percent year on year, a source with the State Customs Committee said Friday.

The exports were worth $1 billion, down 7.9 percent year on year.

Non-CIS exports in January-November accounted for 34.4 million tons, up 4.9 percent on the year and worth $904 million, down 2.1 percent.

Coke exports rose 60.8 percent year on year to 2.9 million tons in the period. Those exports were worth $152.1 million, up 57.9 percent year on year.

Commodity Prices Rise

MOSCOW (Prime-Tass) -- Moscow Narodny Bank's commodity price index for Russia reversed its downward trend in December, rising 7.7 percent from November to reach an 18-month high of 91.2, the bank said Friday in a report.

The commodity price index is a fixed-weight, export-based index including the price movements of 22 commodities key to Russian exports.

"Notwithstanding the declines registered across most sub-indexes, these losses were clearly offset by the double-digit growth recorded in the energy index," the bank said.

The energy price index rose 10.8 percent to 94.5 percent. The bank said the rise was influenced by the average monthly Urals blend price rising from $23.1 per barrel in November to $27.6 per barrel in December.

U.S. Steel Tariffs

MOSCOW (MT) -- The U.S. Commerce Department last week slapped tariffs of 53.81 percent on imports from top three steel maker Severstal and 185 percent on imports from other Russian producers.

The tariffs ranged from 17 percent and 129 percent for China and between 26 percent and 51 percent for South Africa.

The Commerce Department's Import Administration decided that revoking protective margins on imports of cut-to-length carbon steel plates from Russia, China and South Africa would lead to dumping.

'$3.5Bln for Retail'

MOSCOW (MT) -- Some $3.5 billion is to be invested in Moscow's retail sector in 2003, Deputy Mayor Valery Shantsev said on the "Govorit Moskva" radio program last week.

One hundred Pyatyorochka supermarkets are to be constructed in the capital, Shantsev said, as are 20 Sedmoi Kontinent supermarkets.

German's Metro supermarket chain is planning shopping centers in the city, Interfax reported.

Shantsev said he expects large shopping centers to push kiosks off Moscow's streets within the next 10 years.