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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Disclosure Postponed

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia has decided to put off the long-awaited disclosure of data on reserves of platinum group metals, or PGMs, and diamonds, which are currently a state secret, the Natural Resources Ministry said Tuesday.

"That's what has been decided. … This is not so much the decision of the Natural Resources Ministry but of the various coordination committees representing relevant ministries," said Rinat Gizatulin, a ministry spokesman.

The law allowing disclosure of data on private PGM stocks, production and trade became officially effective in February.

But President Vladimir Putin still has to sign a separate decree amending the list of state secrets, after which the Economic Development and Trade, Natural Resources and Finance ministries are to amend their own lists of secrets and authorize disclosure.

Gizatulin said data on gold reserves had been dropped from the ministry's latest secrets list.

FDI Up 35.3% in H1

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Foreign direct investment rose by 35.3 percent in the first half of this year to $3.4 billion, the Federal Statistics Service said Tuesday.

FDI made up a fraction of overall investment in Russia of $19 billion in the first half, which was up 49.9 percent from the same period a year earlier and brought accumulated foreign investment in Russia to $66.1 billion.

Of the first half total, the industrial sector saw $10.3 billion in new investment while $3.4 billion in investments were liquidated.

Russia has struggled to boost foreign direct investment, which is hampered by red tape, corruption and concerns over property rights.

FDI last year totaled $6.5 billion, barely higher than that of western neighbor Poland, a country with a population one-quarter that of Russia.

4 Million Numbers

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The IT and Communications Ministry granted 4 million new phone numbers to cellular operator VimpelCom on Tuesday, ending a shortage that had threatened to limit the company's growth.

"The shortage will end next week," VimpelCom chief executive Alexander Izosimov said at a ministry ceremony where new numbering capacity was handed out. He said the new number supplies would last until the end of the year.

Further numbering capacity requirements would be fulfilled automatically, he said.

To save numbering capacity, VimpelCom had reduced the cut-off period for inactive subscribers, denting its headline growth figures while Russia's demand for cellphones was at its highest ever.

UES Reform Plans

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The board of state utility Unified Energy Systems is due on Sept. 3 to start discussing plans to merge several power plants into a national generating company, the UES board agenda said.

The board is set to discuss UES participation in the new thermal generating company, according to the agenda.

It is one of six to be formed from UES power plants and spun off to compete on the power market, which is scheduled for deregulation in 2006. The six thermal generating companies are set to be privatized ahead of deregulation.

The sale of the generating companies is the key step in transforming power generation from a state-controlled behemoth into a competitive industry.

Aussie Gold Interest?

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton, the world's largest miner, may invest in the Borgulikan gold deposit, Interfax reported.

BHP held a presentation in Blagoveshchensk, a town in the Amur region near the deposit, Interfax said, citing the region's department for mineral development and mining. The deposit has reserves of 50 tons of gold, the agency said.

BHP declined to comment on the report.

The Australian company plans to spend a record $4 billion this year to maintain growth. BHP is betting China's economic growth will boost demand for metals and energy as the company develops projects from copper mines in Chile to oil fields in Trinidad.

Titanium Output Up

YEKATERINBURG (Reuters) -- Russia's top manufacturer of titanium products, VSMPO, raised output to 9,873 tons in the first half of 2004 from 6,611 tons in the same period of 2003, the company said Tuesday.

A VSMPO report said it exported 7,726 tons of titanium products in the first six months of this year.

VSMPO plans to increase output to 18,077 tons in 2004 from 15,887 tons in 2003.

For the Record

The government raised oil shipment fees charged by Transneft by an average 5.2 percent, Prime-Tass reported, citing a decision by the Federal Tariff Service.