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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Oil Prices Push Up Stocks

Stocks advanced on Tuesday, with LUKoil and Surgutneftegaz leading the charge as oil rose for a third day in New York.

The dollar-denominated Russian Trading System index added 0.7 percent to end at 1,577.85 at the close of trading, extending Monday's 1.1 percent advance. The ruble-priced MICEX index climbed 0.8 percent to end at 1,396.07.

LUKoil shares advanced 0.8 percent to $80.50. Surgutneftegaz gained 2.6 percent to $1.333. (Bloomberg)

Central Bank May Cut Rate

The Central Bank may significantly cut its refinancing rate, now at 11.5 percent, if 2006 full-year inflation does not exceed 9 percent, Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said Tuesday.

"If inflation stays within 9 percent, we have serious grounds for lowering the refinancing rate," Ulyukayev told a State Duma committee.

The country's refinancing rate serves as a ceiling for the Central Bank's interest rates but is rarely used by banks, which can borrow on the interbank market at much lower rates. (Reuters)

Gasoline Prices Rise

Gasoline prices rose 0.6 percent in the week ending Sept. 11, a day before the government asked oil companies to cap fuel prices to help curb inflation.

It was the same pace as the previous week and pushed the year-to-date rise to 10.6 percent, the State Statistics Service said in an e-mailed statement Monday. Diesel prices have risen 7.1 percent since the start of the year. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil to Buy Out Shares

LUKoil, the country's largest oil producer, notified two units in which it owns more than 95 percent of a plan to gain full ownership by buying out minority shareholders.

LUKoil will offer minority owners of Arkhangelskgeoldobycha 554 rubles ($20.68) per share, the unit said in a company filing Sunday, citing a notification it received Sept. 15. (Bloomberg)

Gazprom, Endesa in Talks

Gazprom met with Spain's Endesa to discuss developing proposals for joint electricity and natural gas projects.

Endesa, the biggest power generator in Spain, is trying to secure gas supplies to use for generating electricity, the Madrid-based utility said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Nuclear Program to Start?

The country's nuclear chief said Tuesday that a uranium enrichment center able to produce nuclear fuel for nations wanting to develop civilian atomic energy could start operating next year.

Federal Atomic Energy Agency head Sergei Kiriyenko said during an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna that the new center would be built at the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Plant, Interfax, Itar-Tass and RIA-Novosti reported. (AP)

Severstal Eyes Italian Firm

ROME -- Severstal may be interested in buying smaller Italian steelmaker Riva Fire, the newspaper MF reported, without saying where it got the information.

The companies have so far only had informal contacts, and steel producer Severstal has not yet made an offer, MF said. (Bloomberg)

Billiton, Renova Edge Closer

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- BHP Billiton will seek to cooperate with Viktor Vekselberg's Renova to avoid oversupply of manganese as Renova prepares to open a mine in South Africa, Mining Weekly Online reported, citing Peter Beaven, president of BHP's manganese division.

BHP may start talks with Renova about restarting idled mining capacity in South Africa rather than having Vekselberg's company start a new mine, Mining Weekly said, citing Beaven. (Bloomberg)

RusAl's Polish Snub

Russian Aluminium is not interested in buying Kety, Poland's largest producer of the metal, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported, citing RusAl executive Wiera Kuroczkina.

Kety shares surged to a record Sunday on speculation the company may be taken over by RusAl once RusAl completes an acquisition of SUAL Group and assets belonging to Swiss trader Glencore International. (Bloomberg)

Great Wall Deal in 2 Months

China's biggest carmaker, Great Wall Motors, plans to build an assembly plant in the republic of Tatarstan and is on track to finalize a deal by November, news agencies quoted Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref as saying Tuesday.

"We have made all the necessary fundamental decisions," Interfax and RIA-Novosti quoted Gref as saying at a meeting in St. Petersburg with Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai. "Only technical issues have yet to be finalized." (AP)

Papermakers Abide by Law

Stora Enso, UPM-Kymmene and other Finnish papermakers said they were operating inside Russian law when buying timber and that it was up to the government to enforce legislation to combat illegal logging.

The statement follows accusations from Greenpeace that both companies are feeding Finnish mills with illegal timber from forests in the northwestern republic of Karelia. The environmental campaign group claims to have witnessed malpractice during an undercover investigation. (Bloomberg)

Court Supports VimpelCom

VimpelCom, the country's second- largest mobile phone company, said the Moscow Arbitration Court upheld its application for an operating license in the Far East, which it seeks to offer full coverage in the country.

The court ruled that it was illegal for the Federal Radio Frequencies Commission to fail to consider VimpelCom's September 2005 application to use frequencies across the Far East. The court gave the commission 15 days to issue a decision on frequencies for VimpelCom, the company said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

Operators Need Broadband

Mobile phone operators must develop broadband services or face a fall in revenues and margins in coming years, Deputy IT and Communications Minister Dmitry Milovantsev said Tuesday.

He said that if mobile operators did not add broadband to their mobile services, their profitability would decrease. (Reuters)

Norway's Fish Face Ban

The government may ban all imports of frozen fish from Norway as of Oct. 1 unless a temporary solution is found to address veterinary concerns, Aftenposten reported, citing an official from Norway's Food Safety Authority.

The government banned most imports of fresh Norwegian fish at the start of this year, causing Norwegian fish exports to the country to drop 10 percent so far in 2006. (Bloomberg)