Russian News: July 1st. 2008!

RBC, 01.07.2008, Moscow 13:59:37.As of July 1, Russia’s Reserve Fund totalled RUB 3,056.52bn, or USD 130.3bn as denominated in dollars, the Russian Finance Ministry’s press office reported. On February 1, when the fund was formed, it stood at RUB 3.057 trillion (approx. USD 130.31bn).

RBC, 01.07.2008, Moscow 13:53:49.The investigation committee of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that it has brought new charges against the former head of YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovsky and former MENATEP chief Platon Lebedev. Specifically, the Russian businessmen were charged with embezzling 350m tonnes of oil and laundering sums of money amounting to RUB 487bn (approx. USD 20.8bn), as well as USD 7.5bn. The lawyers for Khodorkovsky have denied the charges, saying that these figures represented the entire amount of oil that YUKOS produced over six years of its operation. The prosecutors have made only minor amendments to the previous statement dated February 3, 2007, and the same contradictions and legally incorrect allegations remain there, the lawyers stressed.

RBC, 01.07.2008, Moscow 12:58:38.The Russian stock market is likely to fall between six and eight percent over the course of the next month, experts told RBC TV today. Russian stocks are expected to hover around their current levels today, analysts say, adding that, if the RTS index closes below 2,300 points, the downward trend will continue. Experts point out that Gazprom’s financial statement, which was released on Monday, failed to live up to market expectations, as its profitability and EBITDA proved to be lower than analysts had predicted. However, a big drop in Gazprom shares is highly unlikely today, according to market analysts, who say that its financial statement can be viewed as neutral.

RBC, 01.07.2008, Moscow 11:40:23.Duty on Russian oil exports is to be set at $495.9 per tonne from August 1, the deputy head of the Russian Finance Ministry’s customs payments department, Alexander Sakovich, told RBC today. The average price of oil stood at $123.36375 per barrel during the monitoring period of May-June, Sakovich explained. The duty will be set at $346.4 and $186.6 per tonne of light and heavy oil products, respectively.

RBC, 30.06.2008, Moscow 17:59:24.Russia is ready and willing to collaborate with the US on measures to deal with the global financial crisis, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during today’s meeting with US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The PM pointed out that Russia was one of the most ardent proponents of ensuring global economic stability. Nearly all the countries in the world are going through a hard time, primarily due to rocketing fuel and food prices, Putin noted, adding that Russia was prepared to meet these challenges.

RBC, 30.06.2008, Moscow 15:46:34.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at the opening of today’s cabinet meeting that RUB 4.6 trillion (approx. USD 196bn) would be allocated from the federal budget for 2009-2011 for the implementation of federal target programs and the country’s investment program. Much needs to be done over the next three years to develop infrastructure and modernize the economy, Putin said. He added that, starting in 2009, greater sums will be spent on the development of Russia’s armed forces. In 2006, military development accounted for 30% of Russia’s military spending and 70% was spent on maintenance of the armed forces, whereas by 2015 this ratio would be inverted, he stressed.

RBC, 30.06.2008, Moscow 14:59:04.Russia’s government debt decreased 1.6 percent in January-May, reaching nearly RUB 2.364 trillion (approx. USD 100.8bn) as of June 1 compared to roughly RUB 2.403 trillion (approx. USD 102.4bn) as of early 2008, the Economy Ministry said in a monitoring report on Russia’s current economic situation. External government debt shrank 7.8 percent in January-May, from USD 44.88bn as of January 1 to USD 41.4bn as of June 1. In May alone, the figure decreased USD 2.663bn. Domestic government debt has been estimated at some RUB 1.381 trillion (approx. USD 58.9bn) as of late May, having risen RUB 11.89bn (approx. USD 507m), or 0.9 percent, in May and RUB 80.12bn (approx. USD 3.42bn), or 6.2 percent, during the first five months of 2008.