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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Metals Quota Scrapped

The government has scrapped export quotas on precious metals and diamonds, the Kremlin's press service said Saturday.

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing unlimited exports of most uncut diamonds, platinum group metals and other precious metals and ores. Exports will still require a license from the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the Kremlin said in a statement. (Reuters)

Suzuki Sales Increase 64.4%

Japanese automaker Suzuki increased its car sales by 64.4 percent in 2006, Interfax reported Saturday.

Authorized Suzuki dealerships sold 16,118 cars last year, an increase on the 9,804 sold in 2005, Interfax reported, citing a statement from the Moscow office of Itochu, which represents the automaker in Russia. The company attributes the rise in sales to growth in foreign car sales on the Russian market and the development of the Suzuki dealership network in the country. (MT)

Vyksa Pipe Output Up 53%

Vyksa Metallurgical Plant, part of Russian steel-pipe maker United Metallurgical, raised steel pipe output 53 percent in 2006 on booming demand from the country's oil and gas sector, the company said in a statement Friday.

United Metallurgical said the Vyksa plant produced 1.54 million tons of steel pipes last year. (Reuters)

Clearstream Accepts Ruble

Clearstream, a leading European supplier of post-trading services, said Friday that it would accept the ruble as a full settlement currency from Jan. 15, following a similar announcement by its rival Euroclear.

"The ruble will be accepted as a full settlement currency in Clearstream Banking as from 15 January, 2007," the company said on its web site. (Reuters)

Ukraine Industrial Output

Ukraine's industrial output increased 6.2 percent in 2006, double the pace of the previous year, as steel surged on stronger demand on world markets.

Output rose an annual 12 percent in December alone, helped by steel and machinery building, the State Statistics Committee said Friday on its web site. (Bloomberg)

Urals Telecom Goes Digital

Uralsvyazinform, the fixed-line telephone monopoly in the Urals region, said Sunday that the company received a television license that might help it benefit from the government program to switch to digital broadcast.

Uralsvyazinform got the license late last month from the Federal Service on Communications Monitoring, the Yekaterinburg-based company said in a regulatory filing. (Bloomberg)

Bildt Spared Investigation

STOCKHOLM -- Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was spared further investigation into stock options he received as board member of an oil investment company after the country's chief prosecutor refrained from a formal probe.

Bildt was paid 4.8 million kronor ($689,000) in options in Vostok Nafta Investment, which invests mainly in Gazprom, Svenska Dagbladet reported Jan. 8. (Bloomberg)

MTS Switches to Rubles

Mobile TeleSystems switched to ruble-based tariffs in Russia after the ruble gained against the dollar.

MTS will calculate the new tariffs by using its internal rate of 28.7 rubles to $1, the company said in a statement Friday.

MTS last June introduced a flat exchange rate for its dollar-denominated tariffs of 28.7 rubles, higher than the Central Bank's rate. (Bloomberg)

Kazakh Metals Output Rises

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's metals production rose 5.1 percent last year compared to 2005, led by growth in ferroalloy output.

The Central Asian country's ferroalloy production increased 5.5 percent to 1.62 million tons, the Almaty-based State Statistics Service said in a statement Friday, without giving a reason for the change. (Bloomberg)

UES Power Plant in Turkey

ISTANBUL -- National power utility Unified Energy Systems and Rosenergoatom, the country's state-owned nuclear power generator, will build a $400 million coal-fired power plant in northwestern Turkey, Sabah newspaper reported Sunday.

The companies have set up a new firm that will partner with Turkey's TGR Enerji to build the power station near the town of Gonen in Balikesir province, Sabah reported, citing TGR's general coordinator Ibrahim Artvinli. (Bloomberg)

Refinancing Rate Cut

The Central Bank can cut its key refinancing rate, currently at 11 percent, in January or February, Interfax quoted Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev as saying Friday.

"I think the board of directors will consider this issue soon. It can happen as soon as in January or February," Ulyukayev said. (Reuters)

For the Record

KIEV -- Ukrainian asset sales raised $119 million in 2006 compared to $4.1 billion the previous year, a Ukrainian Finance Ministry official said Friday. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil said Friday that its third-quarter net profits grew by 10 percent, to $18.25 billion, thanks to high oil prices, rising production volumes and cost cutting. (AP)