A consortium of Japanese companies Mitsui and Mitsubishi has refused to continue talks on purchase of 10 percent stake minus 1 share of Yamal SPG from Russia's NOVATEK oil and gas company, Vedomosti daily said. One of the reasons behind the decision could be the project’s cost increase. NOVATEK and France’s Total, which has a 20-percent stake in the project, had made a final decision to build an LNG plant in Yamal, Western Siberia. Compared to initial estimates, the cost has reportedly increased 35 percent – to $27 billion.
Moscow and international oil and gas majors are cooperating as usual despite sanctions imposed over Ukraine, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said on Friday. “There is no sense behind talk of the severing of relations… They express their desire to invest in Russia,” Reuters quoted Novak as saying. He also said that a European Parliament possible decision to suspend the South Stream gas project will not affect its implementation. “Russia continues realizing the project in compliance with the intergovernmental agreements,” he said, as cited by ITAR-TASS.
The Russian Republic of Crimea will switch fully to ruble settlements in two to three weeks, ITAR-TASS quoted acting Crimean head Sergey Aksyonov as saying on Friday. “The hryvna circulation deadline should be cut as much as possible. We will try to refuse hryvna payments in two to three weeks,” he noted.
McDonald’s Corp. is looking to beef up its image in China to lure diners amid an economic slowdown, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company said it is overhauling a number of its China-based stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou using a local designer. China-focused commercials to be launched later this year will feature basketball star LeBron James.
US-Japan talks aimed at a trade deal are in a stalemate, Reuters quoted Japan's economy minister as saying. “A stalemate continues,” Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari said in Washington after talks with US Trade Representative Michael Froman. The deal is critical to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation grouping that would stretch from Asia to Latin America. The US wants Japan to open its rice, beef and pork, dairy and sugar sectors, while Japan wants a timetable on US promises to drop tariffs of 2.5 percent on imports of passenger cars and 25 percent on light trucks.
Hundreds of Amazon.com workers in Germany were expected to walk off the job on Thursday. Services union, Verdi, was continuing a string of strikes aimed at swaying the e-commerce giant on wage levels, the Wall Street Journal reported. Workers at Amazon’s logistics centers in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld planned to stage an all-day strike, the second at Amazon's German operations this year. The union expected between 400 and 500 employees to strike at each location.
The Russian Central Bank has withdrawn the Kaspiy Bank’s license in Dagestan today, RIA Novosti reported. The CB accused the bank of violating the law against money-laundering and terrorism financing as it was reportedly involved in suspicious cash operations worth a total of 550 million rubles in 2013. The Bank of Russia has also revoked the banking license of the Bashkortostan-based AF Bank, ITAR-TASS reported. The Bank of Russia said the AF Bank pursued a high-risk credit-lending policy connected with the allocation of monetary resources in low-quality assets.