Russian News: March 14th, 2008!

RBC, 14.03.2008, Kiev 15:34:43.During today’s press conference in Kiev, Ukraine’s PM Yulia Timoshenko suggested signing a long-term gas agreement with Russia, RBC Ukraine reported. Commenting on the contract signed by Naftogaz of Ukraine and Gazprom on Thursday, Timoshenko said that the document was only valid until the end of 2008, while a strategic agreement for up to ten years was needed.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 15:03:36.The current situation on the Russian stock market is quite favorable for making investments, as Russian securities are lagging behind the global oil price dynamics, experts told RBC TV today. Oil companies are expected to show better financial performance in the first quarter of 2008, analysts note. Meanwhile, trading activity is rather low in second-tier stocks, although demand for certain securities is relatively high, experts say.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Kiev 13:40:33.Gazprom can sell 7.5bn cubic meters of gas directly to Ukrainian consumers only in 2008, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko told a press conference today, commenting on an agreement reached between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Gazprom. She added that the document had been signed for one year, and that liabilities under the deal would end at the end of the year. Timoshenko also expressed hope that another long term agreement would be concluded with the Russian state gas company.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 13:27:35.Ukraine will return 1.4bn cubic meters of gas to Gazprom in the second and third quarters of 2008 as part of its debt payback for the supplies of Russian gas, Naftogaz of Ukraine chief Oleg Dubina told a press conference today. According to his statement, talks are still underway for returning a further 3.5bn cubic meters of gas for 2007.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 12:10:41.Evraz Group S.A. is poised to purchase Canadian divisions of the steel maker IPSCO specializing in steel sheet and pipe production for $4.03bn from Sweden’s SSAB, the Russian steel and mining group said in a statement today. Meanwhile, a number of seamless pipe facilities are expected to be sold to Russia’s pipe producer TMK for $1.7bn. Evraz intends to finance the deal by means of raising loans. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are to act as financial advisors for the deal.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 11:22:20.According to the Russian IT and Communications Ministry’s estimates, investments in the country’s IT industry are expected to surge sevenfold from $80m in 2007 to $500m-$600m in 2010, the RBC Daily newspaper reported today. Such investment growth is achievable thanks to the government’s current policy directed towards raising the industry’s competitiveness and investment appeal.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 10:25:21.At the opening of today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the weighted average exchange rate stood at 23.64 RUB/USD, which is RUB 0.05 lower than the official rate set by the Bank of Russia for March 14. Therefore, the ruble has extended its gains against the dollar into the third day in a row. The dollar slid RUB 0.17 against the ruble over the two previous sessions and has been sliding again at a slightly slower pace today. The current developments on MICEX can be attributed to the situation on international exchanges, where the dollar has been depreciating against the euro. The latter is now trading at USD 1.5616, up from USD 1.5558 at the same time on Thursday and USD 1.5364 on Wednesday. Consequently, the European currency has gained 0.4 percent against the dollar on the global market since yesterday and 1.6 percent since March 12.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Chisinau 09:54:49.Russia’s Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov is prepared to visit Moldova in April 2008, the Moldovan government’s press office told RBC, citing Russian Ambassador in Moldova Valery Kuzmin’s statement during a meeting with the republic’s PM Vasile Tarlev.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Kiev 09:28:19.Gas production fell 0.8 percent to 3.47bn cubic meters in Ukraine in the first two months of 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the government said in a statement. Ukraine’s natural gas production (excluding associated gas) shrank 0.5 percent to 3.303bn cubic meters, while output of oil with gas condensate dropped 4.7 percent to 715,600 tonnes in January-February 2008 from the same two months of the previous year.

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