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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Street Drinking Okay

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The State Duma handed a major victory to local breweries Wednesday by approving a bill which allows adults to drink beer on the street.

President Vladimir Putin had vetoed the bill last month and sent it back to Parliament for redrafting.

The original bill sought to ban beer sales on public transport and in cultural and sports buildings, as well as near schools. It also forbade all beer drinking on the street and in stadiums, parks and on public transport.

The other prohibitions stayed intact, but it is a major breakthrough for the local beer industry, as about a third of beer in Russia is bought for immediate consumption.

Now the bill needs to be approved by the Federation Council and signed by the president to become law.

Yukos Exports Resume

VILNIUS, Lithuania (Reuters) --Lithuanian oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta, shut since last Friday, has started producing again, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The refinery, controlled by troubled oil major Yukos, which supplies most of its crude, said production had stopped Friday night due to supply problems.

Visiting Yukos senior executives on Tuesday pledged to resolve the supply problems and get the refinery functioning again.

Analysts estimated the stoppage cost Mazeikiu 1 million litas ($369,700) per day in operating expenses.

Deripaska Blasts CB

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- A leading industrialist accused the country's Central Bank on Wednesday of running a hawkish and muddled monetary policy that was hurting exporters.

Oleg Deripaska, owner of metals-to-mining giant Basic Element, said the main concern for business in Russia was not Kremlin infighting over control of strategic industries but an excessive policy focus on fighting inflation.

"The state has virtually no influence on economic processes, except for certain superstitions it refuses to rid itself of, like the primacy of inflation over all other aspects of monetary policy," Deripaska told a business conference. "This is not decided in the Kremlin; it is decided in the Central Bank. … And I don't think the Kremlin quite understands what the three guys there, who decide what exchange rate policy the country should have tomorrow, are up to."

34M Airline Passengers

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian airlines carried about 34 million passengers in 2004, 15 percent more than a year earlier, the Transportation Ministry said Wednesday.

Flag carrier Aeroflot, Sibir and Pulkovo topped the list with a 40 percent share of all passengers carried last year, the ministry said.

Russia's airlines sector -- with a total of 200 regional airlines -- is going through consolidation as Aeroflot and other majors snap up smaller rivals to expand their flight networks.

Foreign Inflows Slow

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Foreign investment into Russia fell 12 percent last year, Interfax reported, citing Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

Investment from abroad fell to $6.6 billion in 2004, from $7.5 billion, Interfax said, citing Kudrin at a conference in Moscow. The total investment in Russian productive capacity grew to $90 billion, Kudrin said, without giving detailed figures.

Russia's net outflow of capital rose to $7.8 billion in 2004, from $1.9 billion in 2003, according to the Central Bank.

Volgotanker Reprieve

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Tax authorities demanding $23 million in back taxes from Volgotanker, Russia's biggest river shipping company, have unfrozen its accounts, a company statement said.

Tax authorities in the Samara region had ordered the accounts frozen while they attempted to enforce the payment, which relates to the 2001 tax year. But Volgotanker said its banks had been told the sanction had been lifted.

Surgut Boosts Output

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Surgutneftegaz, Russia's fourth-biggest oil producer last year, raised crude output 9 percent in January from the same month last year, after the company drilled more wells.

Oil extraction rose to 5.24 million tons (1.24 million barrels per day), the Surgut, Russia-based company said Wednesday.

Gas output rose 4 percent to 1.34 billion cubic meters.

Sibneft Boosts Output

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- Sibneft, Russia's fifth-biggest oil producer last year, raised crude oil output 8.2 percent last year as world energy prices surged.

Output increased to 34 million tons (693,000 barrels per day) from 31.5 million tons in 2003, Sibneft said Wednesday.