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Business

Dateline
February 27, 2015 07:10
Sergei Kupriyanov.(Reuters / Maxim Shemetov )
Ukraine pays Gazprom $15mn for 24 hours worth of gas
Ukraine’s Naftogaz has paid Gazprom $15 million for gas delivery. At current levels, the prepayment covers one day's gas consumption and will be spent by Tuesday, Gazprom spokesperson Sergey Kupriyanov said.
Reuters / Jim Urquhart Crude price shock sends Canadian oil service companies into whirlwind
The crude oil price collapse has forced some Canadian oil service companies to cut their workforces, budgets, and salaries, as their energy-producing customers have been struggling with their own budget cuts and market uncertainty.
Reuters / Jayanta Dey ​Moscow confirms India considering free trade zone with Eurasian Economic Union
India has proposed creating a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia, said Alexey Pushkov, head of the International Committee of Russian State Duma.
Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi ExxonMobil admits $1bn lost from anti-Russia sanctions
The contracts with Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft damaged by the West’s anti-Russian sanctions have cost ExxonMobil $1 billion, the company said in its annual report.
AFP Photo / Philippe Huguen
Germany’s Bundestag okays Greece’s bailout extension
In the biggest majority for any eurozone rescue package vote so far, members of the German parliament have almost unanimously approved the reform plan for Greece, which paves the way for a four–month loan extension.

Business snaps

Japan’s industrial output increases most in 3 years 

Japan’s industrial output increased the most in more than three years while retail sales slid and inflation slowed, Bloomberg said. Production jumped 4 percent in January from the previous month, according to trade ministry data. Retail sales fell 1.3 percent and household spending dropped. The central bank’s main inflation measure slowed to 0.2 percent, excluding sales-tax effects.

Germany’s inflation in February likely to be higher than previous month 

Annual inflation in Germany is likely to remain low in February but it looks set to be higher than in January, Reuters reported. Data from three federal states showed consumer prices rising on an annual basis. They were unchanged on the year in two states, including North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state. The HICP reading in Germany will likely push back into positive territory, with a reading of around 0.1 percent after a 0.5 percent drop last month, according to Jennifer McKeown, of Capital Economics.

No plans to expand BRICS – Lavrov 

There are no plans to expand BRICS, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday. First of all, the cooperation within the organization should be stepped up, he said. One of the most important tasks is the establishment of a new bank of development, Lavrov added. BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Talks of Russia, Ukraine, EC to be held in Brussels on March 2 

Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission will hold talks on gas supplies and transit in Brussels on March 2. Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said that the discontinuation of gas supplies to Ukraine is possible before the trilateral meeting, unless the prepayment for March deliveries is completed, TASS reported. There has been no prepayment from Ukraine to Russia’s Gazprom, according to Novak.

EU asks WTO to help settle import duties dispute with Russia  

The EU has asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to help settle a dispute with Russia over “excessive import duties” on refrigerators, paper products and palm oil. The request for the WTO to create a panel of experts to review the dispute comes after the two sides failed to settle the issue through consultations late last year, AFP said. Brussels says Russia “has continued taxing a number of products across various sectors more heavily than agreed.” The WTO dispute settlement body will evaluate the EU’s request next month.

Moody’s lowers ratings of Russian branches of 6 int’l banks, 5 firms 

Moody’s has lowered ratings of six Russian financial institutions which are branches of foreign banks. They include AO Raiffeisen Bank, ING Bank (Eurasia), Rosbank, DeltaCredit, Rusfinance Bank and Intesa, RBC.ru reported. The rating agency has also lowered the credit ratings of five Russian energy and infrastructure companies with a negative outlook, including Transneft, RusHydro, Atomenergoprom, Inter RAO and Rosseti, Tass said.

Saudi Arabia minister says oil demand is growing 

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has said oil demand is growing, Bloomberg reported. “We want to see calm markets,” the minister said after a speech at a conference in the Red Sea city of Jazan in the nation’s southwest. Saudi Arabia will remain the largest oil exporter, he said. Brent crude futures have gained 7.2 percent this year after plunging 48 percent in 2014.

Reuters / China Daily ‘No political obstacles’ to grant China 50% stake in Russian oil and gas fields – Deputy PM
Russia may consider granting Chinese investors over 50 percent stakes in its strategic hydrocarbon fields, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has said.
Reuters / Ismail Zitouny ​US won’t overtake Saudi Arabia as biggest oil exporter – head of IEA
Despite being the biggest crude oil producer, the United States won’t be able to export more than the current world leader Saudi Arabia, says the new head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol.
RIA Novosti/Grigoriy Vasilenko China agrees to amend $3.6bn loan agreement with Ukraine
The National Bank of China has agreed to extend the range of projects the Ukraine’s cash-strapped Naftogaz can fund with a $3.6 billion credit line agreed in 2012.
Reuters/Issei Kato Revealed: McDonald's €1bn tax loophole
Fast-food chain McDonald’s has been accused of avoiding over €1 billion in European corporate taxes between 2009-2013. A report by a coalition of European and American trade unions has revealed the company’s alleged tax avoidance strategy.
Reuters/Philippe Wojazer Donbass blames Kiev ‘economic blockade’ for multi-currency introduction
The people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk will introduce a multi-currency financial system using the US dollar, euro and yuan. This is to shield against the free fall of the domestic currency, the hryvnia, and the “economic blockade” by Kiev.
Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko Gazprom seeks Kiev clarification over Donbass gas supplies
Gazprom wants Ukraine’s Naftogaz to confirm it is refusing to prepay for gas, as long as Russia supplies fuel to Donbass. If Kiev doesn’t pay, Russia may stop supplying Ukraine by Saturday.
Reuters/Ahmad Masood India to negotiate free trade zone with Russia-led Customs Union
India is to start negotiating a free trade agreement with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan within the next six months, Indian Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry Rajeev Kher has said.
Gazprom's official representative Sergei Kupriyanov. (RIA Novosti/Georgiy Kurolesin) Gazprom to consider separating Donbass gas supplies from Ukraine
Gazprom is ready to separate gas supplies to Ukraine and Donbass, said company spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov, as an energy standoff between Moscow and Kiev escalates.
Reuters/Maxim Shemetov Russia’s MICEX this year’s best performing stock index
The Russian ruble-denominated MICEX is currently the best performing index this year, with analysts expecting the growth streak to continue, despite rating downgrades, Western sanctions and the plunge in the oil price.

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