Simply News From Russia… (9/02/2010)

Wheat
So There is Wheat…

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on introducing several exceptions to the temporary ban on grain exports from August 15 to December 31, 2010. According to the document, wheat, meslin, barley, rye, corn, and wheat flour can be exported for the purposes of fulfilling international agreements, ensuring Russian entities’ operations in Spitsbergen and Baikonur (Kazakhstan), and also as part of international humanitarian efforts.

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Gazprom’s net profit under IFRS jumped nearly three times to RUB 336.849bn (approx. USD 10.94bn) in the first half of 2010, the Russian energy holding indicated in an announcement today. Sales revenue climbed 14 percent to RUB 956.816bn (approx. USD 31.07bn). The company’s revenue from gas sales inched up a mere 1 percent to RUB 612.830bn (approx. USD 19.90bn) in January-June 2010 compared to H1 2009. According to Gazprom, the change may be attributed to greater sales in all geographical regions, which were partially balanced out by a decrease in settlement prices denominated in rubles (including excise and customs duties) for gas sales in Europe and former USSR countries.

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The Bank of Russia expects inflation to increase 0.2 percent each week in September, First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Alexei Ulyukayev told journalists today. “The price shock resulting from the drought will last for about three to six months, but in September of this year inflation is likely to be just below 0.2 percent each week,” he stated, adding that this year’s inflation would be greater than in the corresponding month of the previous year.

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Moscow sees the U.S. troops’ withdrawal from Iraq as an important event in terms of the latter country’s sovereignty. The Russian Foreign Ministry‘s information and media department indicated that the move would allow the Iraqi people to decide their own destiny without external pressure.

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The existing visa regime between Russia and the EU may hinder the implementation of joint Russian-European projects, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated today. “The new situation sets new goals of harmonizing relations with all partners that can be sources of Russia’s modernization. Russia’s partners, in turn, also need the country’s potential for their own development,” he said during today’s traditional lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).

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NATO has been hovering “between the past and the future” for far too long, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced today. “We expect our partners in the North-Atlantic alliance to provide us with more specifics,” Lavrov stated today during a traditional lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). According to the minister, Moscow would like to see the alliance complete its political transformation into a modern organization in the sphere of ensuring security, demonstrate its willingness to participate in a partnership with other players, including Russian, on a parity basis, and fully comply with international laws.

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The Russian government is ready to support a potential deal on the purchase of BP’s assets by Russian companies, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin told journalists in Krasnoyarsk today. He stressed that these matters should be commented on very carefully, since any commentary could influence the market. As reported earlier, the British oil company decided to sell some of its assets and offered its Russian subsidiary, TNK-BP, the chance to buy its production facilities in Venezuela. The company is currently carrying out due diligence for the deal. BP’s selling of assets has been prompted by the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf, which caused a nearly 40-percent drop in BP’s capitalization.

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Lukoil has not yet passed a final decision on the buyback of its shares from the American company ConocoPhillips. The Russian oil giant has no intentions of exercising the option for the purchase of 11.61 percent of its shares from its U.S. partner, Vice President Leonid Fedun told journalists on Tuesday. According to him, it is simply not feasible for the company to purchase its shares at an increased price, especially since Lukoil would need these funds to participate in a tender for the development of the Trebs and Titov strategic oilfields.

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