Japanese trade and industry minister, Yuko Obuchi, 40, resigned over allegations of improper use of political funds. Justice Minister Midori Matsushima, 58, also quit over claims she breached election laws. The resignations are seen as a double blow to Abe who has made promoting women a pillar of his economic policy, Bloomberg said.
The ruble weakened against both the dollar and the euro on Monday after Moody’s downgraded Russia's sovereign debt rating, Reuters said. Moody’s Investors Service earlier cut Russia’s sovereign debt rating to ‘Baa2’ from ‘Baa1.’ At 0635 GMT the ruble was 0.47 percent weaker at 40.94 against the dollar and 0.42 percent weaker at 52.21 against the euro. The central bank said on Monday it had conducted 86.83 billion rubles ($2.12 billion) worth of Forex interventions to bolster the ruble on October 16.
Former shareholders of defunct oil company Yukos plan to send claims to courts in Germany, the UK, the US, the Netherlands and France to seize Russian assets, Der Spiegel said on Monday, citing the investors’ lawyer, Tim Osborne. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on July 28 that Russia must pay $50 billion in compensation to Group Menatep Limited, which unites former Yukos owners. Russian officials said earlier Moscow will be appealing the court’s decision, TASS reported.
The Russian consumer-safety watchdog is conducting inspections at more than 200 McDonald’s restaurants around the country, Bloomberg reported. Nine restaurants were earlier temporarily closed by courts, and McDonald’s will appeal the rulings. The food chain had 440 restaurants in Russia as of the end of August.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said his country could use money provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international lenders to cover a shortfall in the funds for Russian natural gas supplies. “We have several options at our disposal, from borrowing from the International Monetary Fund to using funds from international financial organizations that could help cover the NJSC Naftogaz deficit,” RIA Novosti quoted him as saying in an interview to domestic TV channels. Ukraine’s current debt is more than $5 billion in unpaid bills to Russia.
Gazprom Neft said on Friday it did not see a fall in the oil price as a long-term trend, Reuters reported. Russia’s fourth biggest oil producer by output is expecting the price to return to the level of $95-110 per barrel. It also said that its investment projects envisage an oil price of $95 per barrel, and any drop is compensated for by a change in the ruble.
Russian Railways has not lost a single foreign partner since Western sanctions were imposed, TASS quoted the state-owned monopoly’s CEO Vladimir Yakunin as saying on Friday. “There was not a single case of refusal to co-operate,” he said, adding that the company has received a “great number of co-operation proposals.” At the same time, he described the sanctions as “frustrating.” Yakunin said that “only one administration needs these sanctions, and it is not Europeans.”