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Business

Dateline
October 21, 2014 08:36
Christophe de Margerie (Reuters / Luke MacGregor)
‘Shock & sadness’ as Total CEO dies in Moscow plane crash
Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total, had a simple motto - “go where the oil is.” De Margerie died in a plane crash in Moscow on Monday, and the business and political community has responded with an outpouring of grief.
Reuters / Sergei Ilnitsky / Pool Russia-China trade hits record $59bn in first half of 2014
Russia’s recent trade figures show strengthening ties eastwards, not westwards. Trade with the 28-nation European Union declined 3.2 percent from the same period last year, whereas trade with China increased by 3.4 percent.
Prirazlomnaya ice-resistant oil platform for processing oil from Prirazlomnoye field in the Pechora Sea.
(RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov)
Oil prices won’t recover above $100 – Russian Finance Ministry
Decreasing oil prices are “inevitable” and the chance they will exceed $100 per barrel is “unlikely” the Russia’s Finance Ministry said. However, the Russian budget can withstand lower prices.
Reuters / Gleb Garanich Ukraine and Russia agree on $385 gas price for winter
Moscow and Kiev have confirmed the price of Russian gas to Ukraine until the end of March at $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, according to both Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Reuters / Jonathan Bainbridge MasterCard, Zwipe team up for world’s first contactless credit card
Remembering a PIN code may become a thing of the past for credit card holders. MasterCard along with biometrics company Zwipe say that in 2015 they will offer the world’s first credit card which uses fingerprints to confirm payment.

Business snaps

Japan trade minister resigns over allegations of improper use of funds 

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.

Ruble weakens against dollar & euro, as Moody’s cut Russia debt rating 

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.

Yukos ex-owners to claim Russian assets in EU – report 

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.

200 McDonald’s outlets inspected in Russia – company 

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.

Ukraine may cover shortfall in funds for Russian gas with IMF money 

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 expects oil price to return to $95-110 per barrel 

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: no partners lost due to Western sanctions 

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.”

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (Reuters / Alexey Nikolsky) ‘No tragedy’ for Russian budget due to current oil prices
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the current low oil prices are “no tragedy” for the Russian budget, stressing that they may soon see an upward correction.
Reuters / Gleb Garanich Kremlin surprised Poland won’t give Ukraine free coal
Now that Ukraine wants to receive Polish coal, and not Russian gas, free of charge, the Kremlin said it is surprised at Warsaw’s inconsistency towards Ukraine’s energy crisis.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) stands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (R) as Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stands on the back during a meeting on the sidelines of a Europe-Asia summit (ASEM) in Milan October 17, 2014 (Reuters / Daniel Dal Zennaro) Putin says gas deal with Ukraine for winter months only, Poroshenko says no deal at all
Kiev and Moscow have failed to resolve their gas supplies dispute, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said after meeting Russia’s leader. According to Putin, only an agreement for winter supplies has been reached, but details are still to be worked out.
Arkady Rotenberg, Igor Sechin (RIA Novosti/Vladimir Fedorenko, Vladimir Astapkovich) Russia’s blacklisted Rosneft, billionaire Rotenberg take EU to court over sanctions
State-owned oil company Rosneft and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg have filed a case in the European Court of Justice against the European Council challenging its decision over sanctions, according to papers filed with the court.
The Central Bank has issued coins with new rouble symbol. (RIA Novosti) Russian shoe retailer to pay China in rubles
Russia’s biggest mid-range footwear retailer, Obuv Rossii, is to buy from Chinese suppliers in rubles instead of yuan, offsetting the high cost of currency conversion. It joins Gazprom Neft as one of the first Russian companies to use ruble contracts.
Reuters/Denis Balibouse Switzerland cuts growth forecast, blames slowing Europe & geopolitical crisis
Even the Swiss economy isn’t immune to the "fragile and vulnerable eurozone" and has cut growth forecasts for this year and next. The government points its finger at weak exports to Germany and geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins Eurozone inflation slumps to 5yr low risking triple-dip recession
Inflation in the 18-member eurozone has dropped precipitously low to 0.3 percent, the lowest since 2009. The European Central Bank missed its 2 percent inflation goal for the 20th straight month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic (not pictured) at Serbia Palace building in Belgrade October 16, 2014. (Reuters/Marko Djurica) Putin: If Ukraine siphons gas from pipeline, Russia will reduce Europe supplies
Moscow will reduce gas supplies if Kiev starts siphoning deliveries destined for Europe, said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Serbia.
This picture taken on October 31, 2013, shows workers welding pipes during the symbolic start of the construction of the Bulgarian section of Russian gas giant Gazprom's South Stream pipeline near the village of Rasovo. (AFP Photo) Deadlock around South Stream needs to be resolved to avoid cold winter – Putin
The development of South Stream gas transit to Europe is essential in providing energy security for Europe, but Ukraine is still a thorny obstacle that may cause disruptions, and alternative routes are needed, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

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