Digest of headline news from October 12 to 11:30 a.m. Moscow time on October 13:
BUSINESS & FINANCE
*** RUBLE CORRECTS DOWN SLIGHTLY AGAINST DOLLAR, EURO AFTER GROWTH YESTERDAY
The ruble is declining slightly against the dollar and euro in early trading on the Moscow Exchange on Friday following growth yesterday.
The dollar, which began the day at 57.68-57.75 rubles/$1, was trading at 57.73 rubles/$1 after the first minute, 3.5 kopecks above previous closing and 4.56 kopecks above the official rate for today.
The euro started the day at 68.35 rubles/EUR1, up 13 kopecks from previous closing but 9.55 kopecks below the official rate.
*** MICEX, RTS UP IN RANGE OF 0.1% ON FRIDAY
Russia's benchmark stock indexes were mixed on Friday morning amid an upturn in oil prices and on Asian equities markets as well as a stabilizing ruble.
The MICEX stock index was up 0.1% to 2096.23 points and the RTS was up 0.01% to 1144.02 after the first minute of trading.
*** RUSSIAN MONETARY BASE UP 65.4 BLN RUBLES
The narrow monetary base in Russia stood at 9290.6 bln rubles on October 6, up from 9225.2 bln rubles on September 29, the Central Bank reported on Friday.
*** RUSSIA, GERMANY DEVELOPING ECONOMIC COOPERATION DESPITE POLITICAL COMPLICATIONS - PUTIN
Russia and Germany are developing economic cooperation despite political complications, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with German businessmen.
"I'd like to say at the beginning of our meeting that despite every problem, current political complexity, our economic relations with Germany have been ongoing although Germany has lost its first place to China in terms of the trade turnover with Russia," Putin said.
*** GERMAN COMPANIES PARTICIPATING IN NORD STREAM 2 CONFIRM TO PUTIN THEIR INTENT TO FURTHER DEVELOP PROJECT - PESKOV
Germany's companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project expressed at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday their intent to continue the project's development, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters following the meeting.
"The companies that are in one way or another involved in Nord Stream 2 have expressed their intent to carry on, of course. And they have expressed hope that there will be no impediments, neither external factors imposed artificially and non-competitively nor any others," Peskov said in a comment.
*** MINISTRY SEES RUSSIAN INFLATION SLOWING TO 2.7%-2.8% IN OCT, AT 2.7%-3.2% FOR YEAR
Inflation in Russia will amount to 0.2%-0.3% in October and annual inflation will slow to 2.7%-2.8% by the end of the month, the Economic Development Ministry forecast in an inflation report.
The ministry expects inflation in the range of 2.7%-3.2% for 2017.
*** ROSGEO TO DRAFT PROPOSALS FOR SAUDI INVESTMENT IN EXPLORATION PROJECTS IN RUSSIA
Rosgeo will prepare proposals for Saudi investment in geological exploration projects in Russia, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi told reporters.
Saudi Arabia "expressed interest," he said. "We, in turn, support the initiative, that in this case exploration and foreign investment is welcome here, it is a highly risky, promising area. Plus, we agreed that we'll visit Saudi Arabia and already discuss projects there. I asked Rosgeo to prepare its proposals," Donskoi said.
The first round of talks concerned hydrocarbons, he said.
*** MALAYSIA'S BUMI ARMADA TO BUILD OFFSHORE PIPELINE FROM FILANOVSKY FIELD FOR LUKOIL
Malaysia's Bumi Armada has concluded an additional agreement with Lukoil-Nizhnevolzhskneft to design, make procurements for, install and build pipelines for the Filanovsky field, Bumi Armada President Leon Harland told journalists in Astrakhan.
Harland said that under the additional agreement the company will complete installation of an approximately 20 kilometers of pipeline to the Filanovsky field in the Russian part of the Caspian Sea. Bumi Armada is planning to use their ships Armada Installer and Armada Constructor to carry out the work. Preparatory work for the project has already started and "full completion is expected by the end of 2018." The total cost of the agreement is $134 million.
Harland said that Bumi Armada will work with primarily Russian suppliers of materials, equipment, services and additional vessels in the implementation of the project.
*** TVEL SIGNS CONTRACT TO SUPPLY NUCLEAR FUEL FOR ARMENIAN NPP, INCLUDING FOR RESERVES
TVEL has signed agreements on supplies of nuclear fuel to the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) for refueling and creating reserves, the Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer said.
Contract documents have been signed with CJSC Haykakan Atomayin Elektrakayan. "Owing to this contract not only will regular refueling for the next round of planned repairs be provided for, but also nuclear fuel reserves for the next two years will be created," the statement said.
The President of the Russian company Natalya Nikipelova was cited as saying in the statement that the decision to create nuclear fuel reserves at the NPP was taken last year.
*** HIGHLAND GOLD MULLING M&A TO UTILIZE EXISTING ASSETS, COULD BUY LICENSE FROM POLYMETAL
Highland Gold Mining (HGM) is considering M&A deals in the vicinity of its existing assets, the company's CEO, Denis Alexandrov, told Interfax on the sidelines of Minex 2017.
"We have a large, good and deep organic growth pipeline and we have plenty to keep us occupied. We're certainly in no rush from the point of view of buying or merging with anybody," he said.
"What we are looking at is fields close to our existing mines. I think development via hubs is the right thing to do. We have the Novo-Shirokinskoye and Khabarovsk hubs and we're ready to look, very closely, at everything in the vicinity, at whether to form partnerships of some kind, invest money, develop something jointly or buy something," he said.
*** ROSSELKHOZNADZOR TIGHTENS CHECKS ON FRUIT, VEGETABLE IMPORTS FROM ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN, BELARUS
The Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has tightened checks on fruit and vegetable imports from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, suspecting that sanctioned goods could enter Russia via these countries.
Rosselkhoznadzor said that the necessity of tightening checks is due to a recent sharp rise in imports of goods banned in Russia to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. The banned goods that have arrived in these countries could, in the future, be brought into Russia packaged as produce harvested in those countries.
*** RUSSIA, SRI LANKA TO CREATE FISHING COMMISSION
Russia and Sri Lanka will create a joint commission on fishing.
This is provided for under an agreement between the two countries on cooperation in fishing that has come into effect. The document was posted on the official portal of legal information.
*** MONETARY POLICY MEASURES IMPACT INFLATION WITH ONE-YEAR LAG - YUDAYEVA
The Central Bank of Russia's (CBR) monetary policy measures affect inflation with a lag of about one year, Central Bank first deputy chairman Ksenia Yudayeva said.
"We are already easing [monetary policy]. This refers to all kinds of other things, but our policy does not influence the inflation that we see at the current moment. Our policy influences inflation in about a year. We need to assess various factors in various scenarios that will influence inflation in the course of the year and determine our policy accordingly," Yudayeva told reporters, commenting on the situation with inflation, which has slowed to well below the CBR's target, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov's position that the CBR could ease monetary policy far more.
*** TCS GROUP BUYS 55% OF CLOUDPAYMENTS
TCS Group Holding, the parent company of Tinkoff Bank and Tinkoff Insurance, has bought 55% of payment service CloudPayments, the group's principal shareholder, Oleg Tinkov said.
"We decided to partner up and acquire equity. We have become partners of the company CloudPayments, bought 55% of shares," Tinkov said, adding that the group is now starting to buy other assets.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
*** NEW OPPORTUNITIES OPEN FOR FOREIGN BUSINESSES AS RUSSIAN ECONOMY RECOVERS - PUTIN
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hopes that German companies will continue working successfully in Russia, where new opportunities are opening for foreign businesses as the economy recovers.
"We hope that German companies will continue successfully working in our country. New opportunities are now opening for business as the economy recovers, for business in general and for our friends from abroad, including, specifically, from Germany," Putin said at a meeting with representatives of German businesses.
*** GERMAN BUSINESSPEOPLE, INCLUDING SIEMENS REPS, SHOW INTEREST IN FURTHER WORK IN RUSSIA AT MEETING WITH PUTIN - PESKOV
Representatives of Siemens during the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German business community members joined all other meeting participants to express their intent to further work in Russia.
"Absolutely," Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters following the meeting, when asked whether Siemens had expressed readiness to boost its operations in Russia.
The sides particularly discussed digitalization, Peskov added.
*** PESKOV CALLS U.S. WITHDRAWAL FROM UNESCO 'SAD NEWS'
The United States' withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is sad news, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
"It's sad news," Peskov said in commenting on the U.S.' decision to journalists on Thursday.
*** PESKOV ON CHARGES AGAINST KASPERSKY LAB: IT'S ABSURD; RUSSIAN STATE HAS NO RELATION TO THESE ACTIVITIES
The Kremlin sees the allegations that software products developed by Kaspersky Lab have been used to steal NASA information as absurd and insists that the Russian state has never had any relation to such activities, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"This is absurd information. The state has never had any relation to such activities. All accusations of the kind are groundless and not backed by any evidence," Peskov told journalists on Thursday in commenting on the allegations that some NASA information was stolen using Kaspersky Lab products.
*** LAVROV URGES U.S. TO GIVE UP ESCALATING TENSION OVER N. KOREA, CREATE PREREQUISITES FOR DIALOGUE IN CONVERSATION WITH TILLERSON
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and United States' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the situation surrounding North Korea among other issues in a phone conversation on Thursday.
"In the exchange of opinions on the situation in the Korean Peninsula the Russian minister once again called for giving up escalation of tension and working out prerequisites for the political dialogue," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
*** IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE HOW ONE COULD LEGALLY WITHDRAW FROM IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL - LAVROV
It's difficult to imagine the possibility of withdrawing from the deal on Iran using legal mechanisms, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.
"Bearing in mind the status that this agreement has, including the decision on its approval by the supreme body responsible for peace and security in today's world, it's difficult for me to imagine how one could legally withdraw from the agreement, which is a product of collective work recognized by everyone as an act of international law subject to implementation," Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.
*** MOSCOW MAY USE ENTIRE PACKAGE OF RESPONSE MEASURES AGAINST U.S. ON ISSUE OF SIZE OF DIPLOMATIC STAFF - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
Russia reserves the right to use against the United States the entire package of restrictive measures that are being considered, Russian Foreign Ministry official Maria Zakharova said.
"The entire package of response measures may be used," Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday, responding to a question as to whether a reduction of the U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia to 300 people is still possible.
*** RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY REGRETS U.S. QUITS UNESCO, SHARES CONCERN OVER ORGANIZATION'S EXCESSIVE POLITICIZATION
Moscow regrets the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO, noting however that it shares the concern expressed by many nations over the organization's excessive politicization, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"This decision of the U.S. leadership [on withdrawing from UNESCO] is regrettable. The nation that was there at the beginning of the establishment of UNESCO is leaving it in a difficult time for the organization, aggravating its situation by its actions," Russian Foreign Ministry official Maria Zakharova said in a commentary on Thursday evening.
*** U.S. STARTS CREATING PROMPT GLOBAL STRIKE COMPLEXES - RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY
The United States are creating advanced prompt global strike complexes.
"Fulfilling a concept of joint use of offensive and defensive weapons, the Pentagon has started to create advanced offensive complexes of prompt global strike. Non-nuclear armament of these complexes is called to solve the same tasks as those of strategic nuclear forces," Alexander Yemelyanov, a representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, told a Russian-Chinese briefing on missile defense.
*** PLACEMENT OF U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE ELEMENTS ON TERRITORY OF OTHER COUNTRIES CREATES RISKS TO THEIR SECURITY - RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY
The deployment of elements of the U.S. missile defense system on the territories of other countries threatens their security, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
"With appearance of U.S. missile defense systems, the populations of these countries become pawns of the Pentagon," Russian Defense Ministry official Alexander Yemelyanov said at a Russian-Chinese briefing on missile defense held on the sidelines of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
*** VOLODIN REJECTS IDEA OF RUSSIA'S COMPENSATION PAYMENTS FOR CRIMEA
Russia's State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has refused to discuss the idea of Russia's paying compensation for Crimea, saying that such a trade is inappropriate.
"What kind of trade is this? Let them debate this issue with Catalonia in Spain; we'll see how the discussion will go. Such patterns may not be used to approach this," Volodin said in an interview with Rossiya-24 (VGTRK) television on Thursday.
*** VOLODIN CANCELS DUMA DELEGATION'S VISIT TO U.S. FOLLOWING REMOVAL OF RUSSIAN FLAGS FROM DIPLOMATIC ESTABLISHMENTS - DEPUTY CHAIRMAN TOLSTOY
Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has canceled a visit by a group of Duma deputies to the United States to take part in an annual international forum in New York on October 26-30, Duma Deputy Chairman Pyotr Tolstoy told Interfax.
"That's right, they aren't going. The decision has been made by the State Duma chairman," Tolstoy said.
*** KOZHIN: TURKEY TO GET S-400 AFTER CHINA
Russia is fulfilling a contract to deliver S-400 'Triumph' air defense missile systems to China, Turkey is the next, Russian presidential aide for military and technical cooperation Vladimir Kozhin told Interfax.
"The contract has been worked out. There is a line. The Chinese one is being fulfilled, then the next contract will follow. Turkey is on the line. Everything proceeds according to an agreed-on schedule," Kozhin said, when asked when the production of S-400 systems for Turkey will begin.
*** NAZARBAYEV REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF MEDDLING IN KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the support for a Kyrgyz opposition presidential candidate he is being criticized for is false.
"It is all a lie," Nazarbayev told reporters, when asked about what he would respond to his critics for backing the Kyrgyz opposition presidential candidate.
*** IRAN TO STAY COMMITTED TO JCPOA IF RUSSIA, CHINA, EU REFUSE TO BACK U.S. DECISION TO QUIT DEAL - TEHRAN SOURCE
Tehran stands ready to continue to fulfill its obligations as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) dealing with its nuclear program even if the United States withdraws from this treaty, but Russia and China do not support this decision by the U.S., a source in Iranian authorities told Interfax.
"We would not like the U.S. to quit this deal. But if this happens, Iran will look at the reaction of Russia, China and the European Union," he said.
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