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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Food Demand Jumps

Demand for food surged after producers agreed last week to introduce price caps on some products to help the government fight inflation, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Russians have trebled their purchases of sunflower oil, flour, cereals and canned meats from last week on anticipation that prices will rise after Jan. 31, when the caps are lifted, the newspaper said, citing producers and distributors. Retailers also boosted their purchases of foods with a long shelf life, seeking to meet rising consumer demand and stockpile goods for next year, when the caps are lifted, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

Urals Forecast Raised to $67

The forecast for this year's average price of Urals blend crude has been increased to $67 per barrel, Economic Development and Trade Ministry's chief forecaster Andrei Klepach said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

The revision won't affect the ministry's forecast for the pace of the country's economic growth this year, Klepach said. (Bloomberg)

Aeroflot Eyes Czech Carrier

Aeroflot is considering acquiring CSA, the Czech Republic's state-owned airline, chief executive Valery Okulov said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The carrier is interested in all European airlines and has held preliminary consultations on bidding for CSA, Okulov said, the service reported. (Bloomberg)

Trade Surplus Narrows

The trade surplus narrowed 14.8 percent in the first nine months of the year from the year-earlier period, Economic Development and Trade Ministry chief forecaster Andrei Klepach said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The trade surplus decreased to $94.7 billion, Klepach said. Exports increased 11.4 percent to $249.3 billion, while imports grew 37.3 percent to $154.6 billion, Interfax reported. (Bloomberg)

LUKoil Opens Perm Unit

LUKoil opened a new unit at its Perm refinery to boost output of higher quality fuel, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The new unit will process as much as 470,000 tons of crude per year into high-quality gasoline, the company said. The facility reduces the need for additives and will enable LUKoil to start producing Euro-3 standard gasoline at the Ural Mountains refinery. (Bloomberg)

Caspian Pipe Plan Falters

Russia is failing to make progress on a new natural gas pipeline from the Caspian region because of a disagreement with Central Asian partners over prices, Kommersant reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified Kazakh government official.

An agreement reached by President Vladimir Putin in May has fallen behind schedule because Russia is not offering enough for the Central Asian gas it will transport via the new pipeline to Europe, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

KMG, Socar May Ship Oil

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan may form a joint venture to transport Kazakh oil across the Caspian Sea to a BP-led pipeline linking the region to world markets, Kazakh oil and gas firm KazMunaiGaz said Tuesday.

KazMunaiGaz and Socar, the state-run oil companies of the two Caspian states, are considering a 50-50 joint venture to build tankers and a pipeline to BP's link, KazMunaiGaz said. (Bloomberg)

Auto Accords Extended

The government extended the deadline for automakers to sign car assembly agreements with the Economic Development and Trade Ministry to allow companies to pay lower customs duties on parts they bring into the country, according to a decree published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Tuesday.

The deadline for signing agreements with the ministry was extended until Nov. 10 from the previous deadline of Sept. 15, according to the decree. (Bloomberg)

$140M in Amnestied Taxes

Russians reported 3.52 billion rubles ($140 million) in previously undeclared income from the start of a tax amnesty on March 1 to Oct. 1, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing the Federal Treasury.

Most of the previously undeclared income, or 2.09 billion rubles, came from Moscow and generated 272.1 million rubles in taxes, the service reported. St. Petersburg came in second, followed by the southern region of Krasnodar, Interfax said. (Bloomberg)

New IKEA Store Faces Delay

Swedish home-furnishing retailer IKEA may delay a store planned for the city of Novosibirsk after local authorities said the company did not fulfill all requirements, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

The city administration will agree to the opening, which was planned for Nov. 1, after the company builds road links in the surrounding area, Novosibirsk Mayor Vladimir Gorodetsky said, the newspaper reported. (Bloomberg)

Bank of Moscow Profit Rises

Bank of Moscow, the lender controlled by the city government, said Tuesday that nine-month profit rose 11 percent on increased lending to consumers and companies.

Net income advanced to 4.7 billion rubles ($190 million) in the period from a year earlier, the bank said, without giving comparative figures. (Bloomberg)

Sibur May Plan $1Bln IPO

Sibur Holding, the petrochemicals arm of Gazprom, may try to raise $1 billion in an initial share sale next summer, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

Sibur plans to spend as much as $5 billion during the next five years on acquisitions including fertilizer assets, chief executive Alexander Dyukov said, the newspaper reported. A decision on the share sale will be made in 2008, he said. (Bloomberg)

Land Law Change Enacted

Legislative amendments allowing for the privatization of municipal or federal land under existing buildings came into effect Tuesday.

The changes to the law, which were approved by President Vladimir Putin on July 26, stipulate that plots of land lying beneath existing real estate will have to be bought or rented by the owners of the buildings by Jan. 1, 2010.

The amendments also set down the maximum sum that land-buyers will have to pay, as calculated by the real estate registry under which they are listed. (MT)

Moody's Praises Belarus

LONDON -- Moody's rating agency on Tuesday praised Belarus for its "recent excellent macroeconomic performance and low debt" but said its 'B1' rating was constrained by the economy's inflexibility.

"The ratings reflect both Belarus' good record of economic growth over many years and the changed circumstances and challenges now facing the government," said Moody's vice president, Jonathan Schiffer. (Reuters)