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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Production Grows in April

Russian manufacturing expanded sharply in April, signaling the fastest improvement in business operating conditions for seven months, the VTB Bank Europe purchasing managers' index showed Wednesday.

The index's headline reading rose to 53.6 from 53.3 in the previous month, keeping above the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction. The index has only fallen below 50 once since 1998 -- in November 2004.

The increase was mainly due to a sharper output growth, driven by both domestic and foreign demand. The output index rose to 56.47 in April from 55.55 in March. (Reuters)

Oil Fund Hits $113.7Bln

The stabilization fund reached 2.92 trillion rubles ($113.7 billion) on May 1, 2007, up from 2.81 trillion rubles on April 1, the Finance Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

According to the new Budget Code, the stabilization fund will be replaced in 2008 by an oil and gas fund, which will collect all energy revenues. Oil and gas revenues will be stripped out of the budget, which will then run in deficit. The new fund will then be split on Feb. 1, 2008 into a reserve fund, which will partly be used to cover the budget deficit, and a more growth-oriented fund for future generations. (Reuters)

Gazprom Output Falls

Gazprom's gas output fell in April to 1.57 billion cubic meters per day, down 2.7 percent on March, Industry and Energy Ministry data showed Wednesday.

In year-on-year terms, Gazprom's gas production rose by 2.2 percent. Gazprom produces one-fifth of global gas output and supplies Europe with one-quarter of its gas needs. (Reuters)

CPC Oil Exports Rise 7%

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium said Wednesday that its exports of Kazakh oil to the Black Sea rose to 759,000 barrels per day in April, up 7 percent from March.

The Chevron-led pipeline group said its April exports rose to 22.78 million barrels compared with 22.01 million barrels, or 710,000 bpd, in March and the record 804,000 bpd reached in February.

The pipeline is running well above its official capacity of 666,000 bpd. CPC did not give the reason for the rise, although it earlier said February's high was achieved by using chemicals to speed up the oil flow. (Reuters)

Irish Beef Halted

The Agriculture Ministry's veterinary watchdog halted a consignment of Irish beef through a port in the Leningrad region on health grounds, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Documents accompanying the 25-ton cargo stated that the meat contained no bones, the agency said.

"On inspection of the cargo, we discovered that there were traces of bone, which is not permissible as Ireland is considered a country at risk from mad cow disease," a spokesman for the veterinary watchdog said, Interfax reported. Russia only allows the importation of boneless beef from European countries, the agency said. (MT)

Tariff Changes Allowed

The Moscow City Telephone Network will offer its subscribers the option to change tariff options once per month, the company said Wednesday, Interfax reported.

Customers wishing to switch tariff more than once within the same month will be charged 230 rubles for the service, Interfax said. A law that became effective Feb. 1 allowed telephone operators to charge customers a variable set of contracts. (MT)

Magnit 2006 Sales Boost

Food Retailer Magnit, which floated last year, said Wednesday that its 2006 sales rose by 59 percent to $2.51 billion while earnings growth lagged slightly.

Net profits rose by 55 percent to $56.9 million, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization gained 54 percent to $122.6 million, under international financial reporting standards. (Reuters)

Sberbank Net Profit Up

Sberbank on Wednesday reported a 25.8 percent increase in 2006 net profit as its loan portfolio grew rapidly.

The bank, which raised $8.95 billion through a rights issue earlier this year, said its earnings to international financial reporting standards grew to 82.8 billion rubles ($3.22 billion) from 65.8 percent in 2005. (Reuters)

TransCredit Amends Bond

LONDON -- TransCreditBank has tightened guidance on a three-year dollar bond it is issuing this week, an official at one of the banks managing the sale said Wednesday.

The bond will be for $300 million to $350 million and will be priced to yield 7 percent to 7.25 percent, from the 7.25 to 7.5 percent price set Tuesday, the official said.

Books closed Wednesday afternoon and the deal will price Thursday, the source said. (Reuters)