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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

OECD Issues FDI Advice

PARIS -- Russia must do more than lift its currency controls if it wants more foreign investment, and should avoid closing off too many sectors in the name of strategic or security interests, the OECD said Wednesday.

Russia ended all remaining restrictions on capital account currency movements July 1 and said it expected the move to boost investment in the country.

Corruption and a lack of clear, reliable rules remained a big hurdle to foreigners, as could a proposed law on protection of certain sectors, said the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which groups 30 mostly industrialized nations. (Reuters)

'06 GDP Growth Forecast

Russia's gross domestic product, or GDP, growth could reach 6.4 percent to 6.6 percent this year, beating the current official forecast of 6.1 percent, Interfax quoted a senior government official as saying Wednesday.

Industrial output could expand by 5.3 percent to 5.5 percent in 2006, also ahead of the official forecast of 3.9 percent, Andrei Klepach, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry's head of forecasting, told the agency.

He said the ministry would revise its current growth estimates for both industrial output and GDP by the end of July. (Reuters)

Consumer Price to Drop

Consumer prices could fall in August and September but the 2006 inflation target of 8.5 percent remains unchanged although it will be hard to meet, Central Bank head Sergei Ignatyev told reporters Wednesday.

"I hope prices will somewhat decrease in August -- it usually happens in August, and sometimes in September," Ignatyev said. Inflation rates traditionally drop in the summer season in Russia when fruit and vegetables become cheaper.

Prices spiked 5 percent in the first quarter of 2006, causing most analysts to conclude that the official inflation target of 8.5 percent to 9 percent was already out of reach. (Reuters)

Naftogaz Gas Storage

Naftogaz Ukrayny, Ukraine's state oil and gas company, has stored 6.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas and intends to store 23.3 billion cubic meters by Oct. 15.

"We planned to pump 16.4 billion cubic meters of gas to storages in all of 2006,'' Naftogaz said Wednesday by e-mail.

"This positive dynamic in June and the beginning of July shows that we will get all volumes, determined by the agreement between Naftogaz, Gazprom and RosUkrEnrgo."

Italy's Eni, Europe's fourth-biggest oil company, and Gazprom said June 20 that Europe might face a gas-supply shortage this winter because Ukraine was not storing enough natural gas. (Bloomberg)

Gas Shipments Via Ukraine

Natural gas shipments through Ukrainian territory declined 4.5 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period a year ago, Interfax-Ukraine reported, without citing anyone.

The shipment totaled at 66.1 billion cubic meters of gas in the first six months of the year, compared with 69.2 billion cubic meters in the same period a year ago, Interfax reported, without saying where it got the information. (Bloomberg)

Ukraine Gas Talks

Oleksandr Bolkisev, the chief executive officer at Naftogaz Ukrayny, arrived Wednesday in Moscow to meet with Gazprom to discuss supplying gas to Ukraine.

Turkmenistan, the second-largest natural gas producer among the former Soviet states, has urged Ukraine to sign an agreement with Russia to pump Central Asian natural gas through its territory.

"First of all, they will discuss Central Asian gas shipments to Ukraine through Russian territory in the fourth quarter,'' Dmytro Marunych, a Naftogaz spokesman, said Wednesday by telephone from Kiev. (Bloomberg)

KazMunaiGaz OKs IPO

KazMunaiGaz, Kazakhstan's state oil and gas company, gained government approval for plans to sell shares of its biggest unit in London and Kazakhstan in an initial public offering that could raise $2 billion.

KazMunaiGaz's controlling shareholder, state holding company Samruk, approved the decision to sell shares in Exploration and Development KazMunaiGaz, Mikhail Dorofeyev, a KazMunaiGaz spokesman, said by phone Wednesday from Astana, the Kazakh capital. He declined to give a timeframe or other details.

The IPO could seek to raise more than $2 billion by selling 40 percent of the unit, KazMunaiGaz vice president Zhaksybek Kulekeyev said May 31. (Bloomberg)

Utilities Payments Bill

A draft law that allows non-banking organizations to accept payments was passed Wednesday by the State Duma in the second reading.

The bill would allow companies other than banks to collect money for rent, communal and telecommunication services, Arkady Aksakov, deputy head of the Duma committee for credit organizations and financial markets, said Wednesday in a statement. (MT)

Galmond Worth $2 Bln

Jeffrey Galmond, a Danish lawyer and a long-time ally of Communications Minister Leonid Reiman, is worth at least $2 billion, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing evaluations of some of his assets.

Galmond holds 58 percent in Telekominvest, a holding company that owns 31.3 percent of MegaFon, a mobile phone operator, the newspaper reported. North-West Telecom recently assessed its 15 percent stake in Telekominvest at $300 million, giving a value for Galmond's share in the holding of about $1.2 billion. (Bloomberg)

Deripaska Eyes Publisher

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska will buy OVA-Press publishing house, Vedomosti reported, citing Kirill Lisko, head of Russian Media Ventures, the holding company that owns OVA-Press.

OVA-Press publishes magazines such as Hello! and owns 60 percent of Independent Media Sanoma Magazines, which publishes FHM magazine, Vedomosti said.

The price of the deal has not been disclosed and it might be concluded by the end of the month, Vedomosti said, citing unidentified sources close to the deal. (Bloomberg)

Svyazinvest Income Climbs

Svyazinvest, national fixed-line telephone company, said its net income for 2006 rose 14 percent as the company added more customers last year.

Net income climbed to 13.6 billion rubles ($507.2 million) from 11.9 billion rubles a year earlier, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Sales increased to 185.2 billion rubles from 160 billion rubles, according to unaudited international accounting standards. (Bloomberg)