Digest of headline news as of 3:40 p.m. Moscow time on November 1:
BUSINESS & FINANCE
*** RUSSIAN MONETARY BASE DOWN 118.9 BLN RUBLES
The narrow monetary base in Russia stood at 10567 bln rubles on October 25, down from 10685.9 bln rubles on October 18, the Central Bank reported.
*** AVERAGE PRICE OF URALS FELL 11% IN 10M, TO $63.53 - FINANCE MINISTRY
The average price of Urals crude fell 11.2% in 10M 2019, to $63.53 per barrel, from $71.55 in 10M 2018, according to the Russian Finance Ministry.
In October, the price was $58.45, down from $79.26.
*** TRANSNEFT RESUMES DELIVERIES TO MARIYSKY REFINERY AFTER THREE-MONTH PAUSE
Transneft has resumed its deliveries of oil to the Mariysky refinery.
"Today, deliveries to the Mariysky refinery for the first time since July 27," aide to the president of Transneft Igor Demin told journalists.
Mariysky is currently the only refinery controlled by the New Stream Group. The group controlled the Antipinsky refinery until May, when Sberbank acquired 80% from New Stream for debts, as well as the Afipsky refinery, which Mikhail Gutseriev's Safmar bought in May.
*** VEB, SOVCOMFLOT SIGN AGREEMENT ON FINANCING CONSTRUCTION OF FIRST TANKER FOR ARCTIC LNG 2
The Sovcomflot Group, VEB Group, and Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex have signed a set of agreements envisaging financing for the construction of a pilot tanker for subsequent chartering to Novatek for the Arctic LNG 2 project, the state corporation said in a statement.
Arc7-class icebreaking tankers will transport LNG along the Northern Sea Route year-round. They are capable of operating in ice more than two meters thick.
VEB's supervisory board has approved financing for 15 tankers. Their delivery will be timed to the launch of Arctic LNG 2, according to the statement.
*** EVRAZ SAW STEEL PRODUCTION FALL 3.4% IN Q3, SALES ROSE 0.4%
The Evraz Group saw its steel production fall 3.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2019, to 3.38 million tonnes, the company said.
The decrease was "mainly due to lower production volumes at EVRAZ ZSMK amid scheduled capital repairs. Production was also impacted by reduced output at EVRAZ' US and Canadian mills following scheduled downtimes and by weaker demand," the statement reads.
*** RUSSIA OPEN TO CONSIDERING STATE CREDIT FOR NUCLEAR PLANT IN UZBEKISTAN
The Russian government is willing to consider providing a state credit for the construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) in Uzbekistan, a Russian official told reporters ahead of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Tashkent for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
"As for sources of financing, in light of the importance of this project the Russian government is prepared to consider allocating a state export credit. The concrete terms will be discussed at negotiations through the finance ministries of Russia and Uzbekistan," the Russian government's first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Prikhodko said when asked about the possibility of a Russian loan for the construction of the NPP in Uzbekistan.
"The project to build the NPP is strategic for Russian-Uzbek relations and is being closely monitored in the government of the Russian Federation, including issues of contracting and financing," he said.
*** HEAD OF BELARUS'S NAT'L BANK SAYS THERE'S NO REASON TO DISCUSS MERGING CURRENCY WITH RUSSIA
There is no reason to hold talks on the possibility of introducing a single currency in the Union State of Belarus and Russia or in the EAEU, the head of the Belarusian National Bank, Pavel Kallaur, told journalists in Minsk on Friday.
"Various conversations that aren't based on anything are riling society up, forming heightened inflationary and devaluation expectations. There is no basis for these kinds of statements," Kallaur said.
*** CBR REVOKES LICENSES OF EXPERT BANK, DANSKE BANK
The Central Bank of Russia has revoked the banking licenses of Expert Bank (Omsk) and Danske Bank (St. Petersburg), the CBR said in a statement.
*** RUSSIAN GRAIN EXPORTS IN NOV TO DECLINE TO 3.4 MLN - 3.5 MLN TONNES - EXPERT
Russian grain exports in November will decline to 3.4 million - 3.5 million tonnes from 3.8 million tonnes in October and 3.97 million tonnes in November 2018, according to experts at the JSC Rusagrotrans analytical center.
"In November, as expected, grain exports will continue declining due to faster-than-expected increases in domestic prices over export prices," Rusagrotrans chief Igor Pavensky told Interfax.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
*** RUSSIAN DEPUTY FM RYABKOV DENIES U.S. ACCUSATIONS THAT MOSCOW TRYING TO DESTABILIZE CHILE
Moscow rejects U.S. accusations that Russia is trying to destabilize the situation in Chile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax on Friday.
"The U.S. administration is taking advantage of the difficult internal situation in Chile to continue its attempts to denigrate the foreign policy of our country. This is nothing new. Such unscrupulous methods have been used on numerous occasions earlier. We have never interfered, are not interfering today, and will not be interfering in any electoral or other internal political processes wherever they are," Ryabkov said.
"We respect the sovereignty of any state. There should be no doubt that this is our firm and consistent policy. I am convinced that Chilean politicians and Chilean society perfectly understand that, and the ill-intentioned schemes of the U.S. will not yield the result sought by Washington," he said.
***U.S. SEEKS ECONOMIC GAIN FROM CONTROL OVER SYRIAN OIL FIELDS - RYABKOV
The United States is seeking economic gain from control over Syrian oil fields, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax on Friday.
"The U.S. presence in Syria is illegal; it pursues its own geopolitical objectives. Naturally, it seeks economic gains, too," Ryabkov said.
"This is a comprehensive strategy, which arouses in us nothing but rejection," he said.
As to whether U.S. control over oil fields in eastern Syria infringes Russian economic interests, Ryabkov said, "Our primary interest is ensuring Syria's territorial integrity and political independence, as well as normalization in this country."
*** RUSSIA DRAWS U.S. ATTENTION TO UNACCEPTABLE ASPECTS OF ITS BEHAVIOR IN SYRIA - RYABKOV
Moscow has drawn U.S. attention to the inadmissibility of its control over oil fields in eastern Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax on Friday.
"The dialogue on Syria continues in regard to all its aspects. We draw the attention of our U.S. colleagues to the fact that certain aspects of their behavior in and in regard to Syria are unacceptable to us," Ryabkov told Interfax when asked whether Russia would call on the U.S. to pullout from Syrian oil regions.
*** RUSSIA-U.S. STRATEGIC STABILITY MEETING PLANNED FOR NOV DELAYED - FOREIGN MINISTRY
Moscow and Washington were planning to hold the next strategic stability meeting in November but the meeting was rescheduled after another reshuffle in the U.S. administration, Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Vladimir Leontyev said in Moscow on Friday.
"We have had only two strategic-dialogue contacts with this administration. One took place in Helsinki in fall 2017, and the other in Prague recently. Another meeting was planned for November, but delayed because of the latest reshuffle in the U.S. administration, the leadership of the Department of State," Leontyev said.
"That's a big stretch to say" that the dialogue is continuing, he said.
*** U.S. SHOULD NOT DEPLOY SYSTEMS BANNED BY INF TREATY IN EUROPE EVEN WITH CONVENTIONAL WARHEADS - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
The United States should not deploy any missiles prohibited by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in Europe with either nuclear or conventional warheads, Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Vladimir Leontyev said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club on Friday.
"There were statements about them having no intention of deploying missiles in Europe. Yet there is one important reservation: this is about not deploying such missiles in the conventional configuration," Leontyev said.
The configuration of potential U.S. missiles is irrelevant to Russia, he said.
*** MOSCOW AWAITING APPOINTMENT OF TOP U.S. NEGOTIATOR ON STRATEGIC STABILITY - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
Russia is awaiting information from the United States on when the two countries' strategic stability dialogue can be resumed and who will be Washington's top negotiator on these issues, Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Vladimir Leontyev said, adding that Russia's top negotiator is Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
"The ball is now in the Americans' court. We are looking forward to their decision and to them saying who will represent them and when we can resume our discussions on strategic stability issues," Leontyev told reporters.
Previously, strategic stability issues were discussed at the level of Ryabkov and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson, who left this post in October, he said.
*** IMPOSSIBLE TO ELABORATE SUBSTITUTE BEFORE NEW START EXPIRES - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
It is impossible to elaborate a full-scale document as a replacement for the New START before the latter expires, Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Vladimir Leontyev said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club on Friday.
"Obviously, we will be unable to elaborate any full-scale substitute within the remaining time: the treaty expires on February 5, 2021," Leontyev said.
*** SARMAT, AVANGARD SYSTEMS MAY BE INCLUDED IN NEW START - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
Russia's new Sarmat and Avangard systems fall under the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and can be included in it, Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Vladimir Leontyev said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club on Friday.
"As regards the new Russian systems, there are two sides to this situation. The hardware mentioned by the president includes two systems which clearly fall under this treaty," Leontyev said when asked whether the new hypersonic weapon systems announced by the Russian president might hinder the achievement of strategic arms agreements with the United States.
"This is about Sarmat, which easily falls under this treaty as a new type of ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile]. There is a relevant procedure, protocol pertaining to the entire process, from the emergence of a prototype to its commissioning. So if Sarmat comes into existence at least as a prototype while the treaty is still valid, including in the extended period, there will be no problems from the point of view of the New START. There should be no serious problems with Avangard, either," Leontyev said.
*** U.S. SMUGGLES OIL WORTH OVER $30 MLN A MONTH OUT OF SYRIA - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the United States of smuggling oil worth tens of millions of dollars out of Syria.
"Bypassing its own sanctions, the United States smuggles oil worth over $30 million a month out of Syria," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told journalists on Friday.
The U.S. is engaged in criminal activities in the northeast of Syria under the pretext of fighting ISIL (banned in Russia), she said.
*** RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY REPORTS START OF JOINT RUSSIAN-TURKISH PATROL ON SYRIAN BORDER
Russian and Turkish servicemen have begun a joint patrolling mission in northern Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
"The first joint patrolling mission of the Russian military police and the Turkish border service on the Syrian-Turkish border began at 12:15 p.m. on November 1, 2019," the statement said.
The Turkish Defense Ministry also wrote on Twitter about the start of joint patrolling.
*** UKRAINE TO DELAY PETRIVSKE DISENGAGEMENT DUE TO OCT 30 ATTACKS - DEFENSE MINISTER
Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodnyuk said the Petrivske disengagement, which had been planned for November 4, would be postponed due to the attacks of October 30.
"There were actually attacks, and we are expecting a review of the disengagement date, as seven days must pass after the incident. The latest attacks took place on October 30," Zahorodnyuk said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Friday.
*** OSCE SMM CONFIRMS UKRAINIAN FORCES PULLED BACK FROM CONTACT LINE IN ZOLOTE
Monitors from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) have confirmed that the Ukrainian army has pulled back its forces and military hardware from the contact line near Zolote in Donbas, the representative of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), Mikhail Filiponenko, told reporters on Friday.
"Representatives of the OSCE mission have just confirmed that Ukraine has withdrawn all of its forces [from the contact line]," Filiponenko said.
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