Russia 090820 Basic Political Developments

Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions

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Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions

Russia May Impose Progressive Duty on Nickel Exports

By Maria Kolesnikova

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Russia may impose a progressive duty on exports of nickel once prices in London exceed $12,000 a ton under a recommendation made by a government commission for protective measures in foreign trade. The recommendation was posted on the government’s Web site late yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in Moscow at

Last Updated: August 20, 2009 01:17 EDT

UPDATE 1-Russian govt recommends progressive nickel duty
Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:05pm EDT

(Adds background)

MOSCOW, Aug 19 (Reuters) - A Russian government commission has recommended the introduction of progressive export duties for nickel and the maintenance of current high import duties for cars, the government said on Wednesday.

"The commission has agreed a proposal to apply progressive export duties for nickel. The introduction of export duties is envisaged in case the price for nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) exceeds $12,000 per tonne," the commission said in a statement.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an order in January to abolish export tariffs of 5 percent on nickel to support leading Russian miner Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in the midst of an economic crisis.

The three-month nickel contract on the London Metal Exchange MNI3 earlier this month rose to above $20,000 per tonne, the level it held in August last year before falling to about $9,000 per tonne.

Norilsk, the world's largest nickel and palladium producer, said last month output of all its metals declined in the first half of this year from the same period a year ago. (Writing by Gleb Bryanski; editing by James Jukwey)

MOESK Fined $1.4M After Dacha Complaint
20 August 2009By Dmitry Kazmin / Vedomosti

A refusal to connect a Moscow region dacha to the local power grid could cost MOESK 45.4 million rubles ($1.4 million), the largest fine the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has ever levied based on an individual’s complaint.

The anti-monopoly service said Tuesday on its web site that its Moscow region branch had decided Aug. 5 to fine the grid operator based on a complaint from a resident in the Naro-Fominsky district, about 30 kilometers southwest of Moscow.

The individual, whose name was not disclosed, several times tried to have his house connected but was rejected under various pretenses, said Alexei Azarenko, deputy head of the service’s local branch. “There were technical limitations, then not enough power,” he said.

MOESK was able to connect the house, however, which was confirmed by the local branch of the Federal Inspection Service for the Environment and Technology, which served as the basis for accusing MOESK of “abusing its dominant position,” he said.

The company said it considered the fine illegal and will challenge the decision in court, a spokesperson said, adding that by the time the anti-monopoly case had been opened MOESK had already signed a connection agreement with the dacha owner.

Azarenko disagreed, saying it was signed after the case was opened, which is why the fine was issued. He said it was the smallest possible amount — 1 percent of the company’s 2008 revenue from the Moscow region market. The fine could be up to 15 percent.

Alexander Seleznyov, analyst at UralSib, said the fine would not hurt MOESK. In the first half of the year, the company’s total revenue was 41.45 billion rubles, with a profit of 4.38 billion rubles, to Russian accounting standards.

Banks: Ruble retail deposits rose to $7.6bn in 6M09, foreign-currency deposits $7.4bn

Alfa, Russia

Thursday, August 20, 2009

According to CBR statistics, Russian individuals have increased deposits by 9.9% YTD. Half of this amount, or $7.6bn came from the inflow to ruble denominated deposits, while a further $7.4bn went to foreign-currency deposits.

This breakdown of retail deposits growth suggests that the population's trust in the ruble is still weak, even though the ruble stopped depreciating in 1Q09. As of July, the share of foreign-currency deposits was 29.4% of total retail deposits, well above the 13% historical minimum reached last summer. The positive news from 2Q09 was, however, that the size of foreign-currency deposits stabilized at around $61bn, and that retail deposit growth in 2Q09 was due to the inflow of ruble-denominated deposits. If the ruble becomes volatile in 2H09 we might see some additional outflow to foreign currencies. In the meantime, as the growth in deposits now seems to be directly supported by the indexation of public sector salaries and pension payments, we believe that these deposits will be less sensitive to FOREX panic.

Natalia Orlova

VEB Seeks $500M Abroad

State lender VEB is in talks with international lenders to raise about $500 million, three people familiar with the situation said.

The bank may pay interest of between 350 basis points and 400 basis points above the London interbank offered rate for three-year loans, said the people, who declined to be identified as the talks are private. (Bloomberg)

Rusnano Will Sharply Boost Spending
20 August 2009The Moscow Times

Rusnano will approve 40 billion rubles ($1.25 billion) worth of investment this year, one-third more than it planned in May, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier Wednesday that Rusnano would approve investment into 50 projects this year that will require 80 billion rubles of funding.

Rusnano spokeswoman Irina Shabanova said the state corporation would chip in 40 billion rubles of that money. Anatoly Chubais, the corporation’s chief, said in May that the plan was to invest 28 billion rubles this year.

Neither Putin nor Rusnano offered any explanation for the steep increase, but the new plans came after Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov accused the state corporation of being too slow in developing the industry in May.

Putin made the announcement at a meeting dedicated to the nanoindustry, or innovations that work on a scale of nanometers, one-billionth of a meter. Russia wants to capture 3 percent of the global nanotechnology market by 2015.

Addressing a government commission on technology and innovation in May, Ivanov criticized Rusnano for little progress in fulfilling its goal of funding projects.

The increase means that Rusnano will disburse almost all of its money this year. The corporation is also bound to return 85 billion rubles from its budget of 130 billion rubles to the state later this year to help plug a gaping federal budget deficit.

On Wednesday, Putin praised Rusnano for progress in applying the technology to medical equipment, preserving the environment, improving energy efficiency and creating new materials. He did not elaborate.

Chubais also said Rusnano secured Putin’s permission Wednesday to issue bonds under state guarantees. Rusnano may offer bonds as soon as the end of this year, he said, without specifying a figure.

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