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04/19 10:18   Quarter million ballots intentionally spoiled in 1st round of Ukrainian presidential election - CEC
 
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04/19 10:08   UNICEF sends 20 tonnes of construction materials to Donbas
 
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04/19 10:06   RUSSIAN STOCK MARKET OPENS WITH MOEX RUSSIA, RTS UP 0.2%
 
04/19 10:02   Former Dalspetsstroy deputy head convicted of Vostochny Cosmodrome project misdealings
 
04/19 09:57   Plane forced to land in Pskov region after illegally entering Russia's airspace - source
 
04/19 09:56   Rail freight group RTC puts off IPO after shareholders get private offers
 




 

Interfax.com  |  Interfax news  |  Daily Headline News for March 13, 2019


News headlines


March 13, 2019 19:05

Daily Headline News for March 13, 2019

Digest of headline news as of 7:00 p.m. Moscow time on March 13:

BUSINESS & FINANCE

*** RUSSIAN MINFIN SELLS RECORD 91.4 BLN RUBLES IN BONDS AT AUCTIONS FUELLED BY FOREIGN INVESTOR DEMAND

The Russian Finance Ministry sold a record 91.4 billion rubles in federal loan bonds (OFZ) at two primary auctions on Wednesday, fueled by demand from foreign investors.

The ministry said it sold 34.718 billion rubles constant-coupon OFZ 26209 maturing July 20, 2022 yielding 8% per annum in demand for 61.843 billion rubles and 56,716 billion rubles in OFZ PD 26224 maturing on May 23, 2029 at a second auction at 8.47%, in demand for 83.548 billion rubles.

*** ANNUAL INFLATION IN RUSSIA TO PEAK AT AROUND 5.4% IN SPRING, SLOW TO 4.3% BY END-2019 - ECON MINISTRY

Inflation in Russia is expected to be 0.3%-0.4% in March, meaning that annual inflation will accelerate to 5.2%-5.4%, from 5.2% in February, before stabilizing at around 5.4% in the March-May period and slowing to 4.3% by the end of the year, assuming the ruble's exchange rate is stable, the Economic Development Ministry said in an inflation report.

"The Economic Development Ministry estimates inflation for March will be in the 0.3%-0.4% range. Given the low base of the corresponding month last year, annual rates of inflation will be 5.2%- 5.4% in March. According to the estimate, annual inflation could remain at around 5.4% in March-May, after which it will begin to slow and, given a stable ruble rate, come down to 4.3% by the end of the year," the ministry said.

*** VAT HIKE'S CONTRIBUTION TO ANNUAL INFLATION IN RUSSIA ESTIMATED AT 0.8-0.9 PP, LOWER THAN EXPECTED - ECON MINISTRY

The effect of the VAT increase on January 1, 2019 was exhausted in February, and its overall contribution to annual inflation in Russia will not exceed 1 percentage point, the Economic Development Ministry said in an inflation report published on Wednesday.

"In February 2019, the rate of growth of prices returned to last year's levels, which testifies to the exhaustion of the effect of the VAT increase on prices," the report reads.

"The aggregate additional contribution to the annual inflation rate of the increase in the VAT base rate is estimated at 0.8-0.9 pp, which is less than the preliminary estimates of the Russian Economic Development Ministry," it reads.

*** RESOLUTION ON STATE COMPANIES' ALLOCATION OF 50% OF PROFIT FOR DIVIDENDS MAY BE ISSUED IN 2019 - MOISEYEV

A Russian government resolution raising the threshold of profit that state companies must allocate towards dividends from 25% to 50% may be issued before the end of the year, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev told reporters.

"I think that should be [a government resolution]. This year, I hope," Moiseyev said.

*** MIKHLESON SLIGHTLY BOOSTS DIRECT STAKE IN NOVATEK, SPENDS 99 MLN RUBLES, $3 MLN

Novatek chief Leonid Mikhelson has slightly increased his direct stake in the capital of Novatek, the company said in a statement.

The size of the stake rose from 0.7288% to 0.7375% between March 8 and March 10.

Two deals worth a total of $2.965 million took place in the London Stock Exchange, with a further deal on the Moscow Exchange worth 98.716 million rubles.

*** SOCAR HALTS OIL EXPORTS VIA BAKU-NOVOROSSIYSK PIPELINE DUE TO MAINTENANCE

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) has temporarily halted oil exports via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline.

"This is the month when scheduled inspections and maintenance are carried out on the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline. This planned work, after which oil transportation along the pipeline will resume," the company's spokesman, Ibrahim Ahmedov, told Interfax.

SOCAR will ship oil to Ceyhan while the pipeline is out of action. "Azerbaijan's extensive pipeline network means we can fulfill our export obligations while this work is being carried out by shipping additional oil via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline," he said.

*** RUSSIA TO LAUNCH EXCHANGE TRADING IN PETROCHEMICALS BY MID-2020

The Russian government will launch trading in petrochemical products on exchanges by mid-2020, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said at a meeting of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with deputy premiers.

"The roadmap for the development of the petrochemical industry envisages a section [of measures] for the organization of exchange trading in petrochemicals, which will be set up by mid-2020 following an analysis of price formation in the industry," Kozak said.

*** NEW SIBUR DIVIDEND POLICY ENVISAGES PAYMENT OF NO LESS THAN 35% OF NET PROFIT TO IFRS

The provision on Sibur's dividend policy, approved by the board of directors on March 6, envisages the allocation of no less than 35% of net profit to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) towards dividends, the company said in materials.

The previous version of the dividend policy envisages payment of no less than 25% of IFRS net profit for dividends, adjusted for exceptional non-cash income and expenses, including the value of share-based compensation for employees not consolidated in reporting, as well as one-off income and expenses.

*** FINLAND'S FORTUM MAY REPLACE 2 REPS ON RUSSIAN GENCO'S BOARD

The board of directors of PJSC Fortum has approved a list of candidates to the board ahead of the annual shareholders' meeting, the generating company said.

The candidates were proposed by parent company Fortum Holding B.V. Seven of the nine current members of the board are on the list.

The new candidates are Fortum's Vice President for Corporate M&A Transactions, Mika Paavilainen, and Vice President for Corporate Tax, Reijo Kalevi Salo.

*** MAIN PARTICIPANTS IN NORNICKEL SPO WERE INVESTORS FROM UK, RUSSIA - VTB CAPITAL

The main participants in the SPO of MMC Norilsk Nickel were investors from the UK and Russia, according to data from VTB Capital, one of the organizers of the deal.

During the accelerated bookbuild (ABB), Roman Abramovich's Crispian and his partners placed a 1.7% stake in Nornickel (during the deal, the size of the stake rose from 1.25%) for 13,450 rubles per share, 6.5% less than the price at last closing.

"This deal is the biggest placement of shares in a Russian company since the ABB for Magnit's shares in November 2017 and the biggest placement in the global mining and metals sector this year," Executive Director for Equity Capital Markets Dmitry Bolyasnikov told Interfax.

*** PROMSVYAZBANK STRATEGY ENVISAGES 50 BLN RUBLES RECAPITALIZATION OVER THREE YEARS - MOISEYEV

Promsvyazbank's (PSB) strategy envisages a recapitalization of 50 billion rubles over three years beginning in 2019, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev told reporters.

"It [the strategy] envisages a recapitalization of 50 billion rubles over three years, that is, in more or less equal shares over three years," Moiseyev said.

*** VISA, MASTERCARD SUSPEND EVROFINANCE MOSNARBANK'S PARTICIPATION IN PAYMENT SYSTEMS DUE TO SANCTIONS - BANK

Visa and Mastercard have suspended Evrofinance Mosnarbank's participation in their payment systems, leading to the blockage of its Visa and Mastercard cards abroad and within Russia, including for the bank's machines, Evrofinance Mosnarbank said in a statement.

This was done following its inclusion in the OFAC sanctions list over its connection to the Venezuelan state oil corporation PDVSA, which itself had been added to the SDN List. Russia and Venezuela own Evrofinance Mosnarbank through VTB, Gazprombank (both with 25% plus one share), and FONDEN (50% minus two shares).

*** MINFIN UNDERSTANDS NEED TO SACRIFICE SOME VTB 2018 DIVIDENDS, THEY'LL BE LESS THAN 50% OF PROFIT - MOISEYEV

The Russian Ministry of Finance understands the need to sacrifice part of the dividend payouts of VTB for 2018 due to the toughening of requirements for capital and of plans for the growth of assets, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev said on the sidelines of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs' Russian Business Week.

"In the paradigm of three components, we can't violate Basel, given the need to execute the president's decree we also can't demand that banks stop offering credit - what remains is sacrificing dividends," Moiseyev said.

POLITICS & SOCIETY

*** U.S. BILL ON PUTIN'S FINANCES TO HAVE NEGATIVE EFFECT ON BILATERAL RELATIONS - KREMLIN

A package of bills approved by the U.S. House of Representatives for countering Russia, including that obliging the Director of National Intelligence to present a report on Russian President Vladimir Putin's revenues, is a manifestation of Russophobia and will not improve relations between Moscow and Washington, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"Such bills can only have a negative effect [on bilateral relations]. This is a continuation of an unfriendly and unbridled Russophobic line. It's a continuation of emotional excitement," Peskov said when journalists asked him to comment on a new package of bills passed by the U.S. House in order to deter Russia.

*** KREMLIN TO IGNORE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES' RESOLUTION ON NEMTSOV CASE

The Kremlin will disregard the U.S. House of Representatives' resolution on the Nemtsov case.

"Records in documents of third countries are irrelevant to us in this case. This is an internal affair of the Russian Federation. We are not prepared to take such records into account, and we will definitely not be doing so," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press on Wednesday.

*** NEW START EXTENSION TO REQUIRE U.S. TO HONOR ITS OBLIGATIONS - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

The United States should honor its obligations under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) so that Moscow and Washington can begin substantively discussing its extension, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"We would like to remind our U.S. counterparts that the New START's extension is not a technical formality that can be carried out in a couple of weeks or even less, as they seem to imagine," the ministry said in a commentary posted on its website.

"Before the parties can begin substantively discussing this option, the U.S. must fully implement its obligations under this agreement and bring the number of its strategic nuclear weapons into line with the criteria set by the Treaty," the commentary said.

*** FEDERATION COUNCIL APPROVES PACKAGE OF FAKE NEWS BILLS

The Federation Council approved a package of laws banning the publication of false socially significant information at its meeting on Wednesday.

The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights had urged the Federation Council to reject the initiatives and to order their improvement by a parliamentary conciliatory commission.

The package's principal bill prohibits the publication in the media and information and telecommunication networks of socially significant information which is known to be false as credible reports, and which creates a threat of harm to the lives and/or health of citizens, to property, or a threat of mass violations of public peace and/or public security, or creates impediments to or termination of the functioning of crucial, transport, social, communication, energy, and industrial infrastructure, and credit institutions.

*** FEDERATION COUNCIL APPROVES BILL BANNING MATERIALS SHOWING DISRESPECT FOR STATE SYMBOLS

The Federation Council at its meeting on Wednesday approved a package of bills on blocking information which shows disrespect toward society, the state, and Russia's state symbols, the Constitution, and the authorities.

The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights had urged the Federation Council to reject the initiatives and to order their improvement by a parliamentary conciliatory commission.

The bill sets the procedure for restricting access to information which indecently insults human dignity and morals and shows obvious disrespect toward society, the country, Russia's official state symbols, the Constitution, and the authorities.

*** RUSSIAN, U.S. ACADEMIES OF SCIENCES SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT - RAS HEAD

The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have entered into a cooperation agreement, RAS President Alexander Sergeyev told Interfax on Wednesday.

The first day of the RAS delegation's visit to the United States has been very successful, Sergeyev said. The academies signed a cooperation agreement and had a detailed exchange of opinions on ways of further scientific interaction, he said.

"The U.S. proposed a joint study of environmental issues, including the impact of climate on the economic situation. A profound survey of the condition of glaciers was highlighted in this connection. NAS President Marcia McNutt underlined that the melting of glaciers had an effect on water levels in rivers, which could cause international conflicts, considering that almost half of the world population lives on river banks. She believes this is the root of the conflict between India and Pakistan," Sergeyev said.

*** MALFUNCTION FIXED ON BOARD SOYUZ ROCKET - COSMONAUT OVCHININ

A minor problem was detected during an inspection onboard the Soyuz FG carrier rocket which is due to take off on Thursday, but this has been fixed, cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin said.

"Yesterday, a malfunction was found during an inspection. It has been fixed," Ovchinin said at a news conference at Baikonur

*** TCG DISCUSSING VIOLATIONS OF 'SPRING TRUCE', IMPLEMENTATION OF 'STEINMEIER FORMULA' - DONETSK

The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas is discussing violations of "the spring truce", pension payments and "the Steinmeier formula" in Minsk on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) told reporters.

"The Contact Group has begun its meeting in Minsk. The issues considered by the specific groups are being raised for discussion. The security subgroup actively discussed the disruption of 'the spring truce' introduced on March 8, as well as the need to approve and introduce additional measures of controlling and strengthening the ceasefire as soon as possible, as a steady and comprehensive ceasefire cannot be achieved without them," he said.

*** PALESTINIAN LEADER ABBAS MAY VISIT RUSSIA IN LATE APRIL OR EARLY MAY - SOURCE

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas may visit Russia at the end of April or in early May, a Palestinian diplomatic source said.

"Such a visit is expected in April. Most likely at the end of April, or possibly in early May," the source said.

Mk mz

(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

/Interfax/
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April 19, 2019
 
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