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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Trade Surplus Up 49%

The trade surplus grew 49 percent in the first six months of the year as oil prices rose to records and exports of other natural resources surged, Interfax reported, citing the Federal Customs Service.

Russia earned $66.4 billion more from exports than it spent on machinery and other foreign goods in the period, according to customs service data, Interfax said.

Exports, led by crude oil, oil products and natural gas, rose 37 percent to $109 billion in January through June, 60 percent of which came from energy sales. Imports rose 28 percent to $42.5 billion, led by equipment and other machinery. (Bloomberg)

$16Bln Debt Payment

The government paid foreign creditors $15.9 billion last month and will pay another $3.4 billion this month as the world's second-largest oil exporter benefits from record prices for the fuel.

Russia paid creditor countries $12.6 billion and owners of government eurobonds $3.3 billion last month, the Finance Ministry said on its web site.

The ministry does not plan to make any payments on its eurobonds this month. The entire $3.4 billion it is scheduled to pay will go to foreign countries and official creditors, the ministry said, without specifying how much went or will go to the Paris Club. (Bloomberg)

Tatneft Output Rises

LONDON -- Tatneft, Russia's sixth-largest oil producer, increased oil output by 1.5 percent in the first seven months of the year compared with the year-ago period, after it drilled new wells.

Crude oil production rose to 14.8 million tons (512,000 barrels per day), the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Tatneft drilled 197 new wells. (Bloomberg)

Oil Exploration Ban Nixed

LONDON -- A Russian court canceled a plan put forward by the Kamchatka region's local deputies to hold a referendum on banning exploration of the Kamchatka peninsular shelf in the Pacific Ocean, Interfax reported, citing unidentified prosecutors.

Kamchatka deputies planned to hold a public referendum on Oct. 23 to ban exploration of the shelf on environmental concerns, the news service said.

A court in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the administrative center of the Kamchatka region, banned the referendum at the request of prosecutors because exploration of the shelf is supervised by the federal government, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

Glencore Wins Azeri Oil Bid

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Swiss-based trader Glencore has won Azeri state oil firm SOCAR's tender for a 142,000-ton (1 million-barrel) cargo of Urals crude, a SOCAR official said Tuesday.

The cargo will load at Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk on Aug. 29 and 30. (Reuters)

Kaliningrad Port Closure

The Baltic Sea port of Kaliningrad was closed to crude oil and refined products loading on Tuesday due to strong winds, port officials said.

"We have received a storm warning, and all operations will be halted today," an official at a stevedoring company said Tuesday.

The latest shipping information showed three cargoes left the port late on Monday, including Armada Leader with naphtha, Mountain Blossom with base oil and Astoria with crude oil. (Reuters)

Porsche's Russian Plans

Porsche, the world's most profitable carmaker, will build a new retail center in Moscow and cut car prices in Russia to boost sales amid the country's economic boom.

Porsche, maker of the 911 sports car, will invest 14 million euros ($17.3 million) in a new retail center in the capital to lure new clients, the company said in a statement.

Porsche, based in Stuttgart, Germany, has increased the number of official dealerships to seven from one a year ago and plans to increase that number to 18 by the end of 2007, said Gennady Baranov, sales director at Porsche Russland, in the statement. (Bloomberg)

IzhAvto Plant Spruces Up

Automotive holding company SOK plans to spend around $50 million in upgrading facilities at its IzhAvto car plant to allow it to handle KIA's new-generation Rio and Sportage models, Vedomosti said Tuesday. KIA has not yet said where the cars will be built.

For the KIA contract, IzhAvto is competing with the privately owned Avtotor car factory in Kaliningrad.

IzhAvto makes the current Sportage model, while Avtotor makes both models on the market. (MT)

$114M IKEA Contract

HELSINKI -- Lemminkaeinen, a Finnish construction and road-paving company, won an order worth 92 million euros ($114 million) to build a shopping center for IKEA in St. Petersburg.

The mall will include a store for IKEA, the world's largest home-furnishings retailer, Lemminkaeinen said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

S&N H1 Profit Rise

Scottish & Newcastle, Britain's biggest brewer, said first-half profit rose 9.8 percent after the company sold more beer in Britain and Russia.

Net income rose to ?90 million ($161 million), or 10 pence per share, in the six months ended June 30, from ?82 million, or 9.2 pence, a year earlier.

The Edinburgh, Scotland-based brewer's sales volumes "improved" in the slowing Western European market in July on warmer weather, CEO Tony Froggatt said Tuesday during a conference call. (Bloomberg)

Globus to Enter Russia

German-based retail chain operator Globus is planning to open two hypermarkets in the country in 2006, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing Moscow-based developers.

Globus, which controls Globus food, Globus Baumarket household goods and Alpha-Tecc electronics chains, has already set up a Moscow representative office and is hiring staff for its future stores in Russia, the newspaper said.

Globus declined to discuss its Russia plans on Tuesday, and it was unclear immediately how much money the Germans were prepared to put into Russia. (MT)

Tymoshenko Plant Estimate

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko estimates the value of the state-owned Nikopolsky ferroalloy plant at $1 billion, Kommersant reported, without saying where it got the information.

Nikopolsky is the country's biggest producer of alloys such as ferromanganese, which is mixed with steel to make it stronger.

Ukraine, under President Viktor Yushchenko, is probing 194 asset sales made during former President Leonid Kuchma's rule to determine whether the companies were sold at a discount, State Property Fund chairwoman Valentyna Semeniuk said in a June interview. (Bloomberg)