#AceFinanceNews – BERLIN – September 26 – Russia wants to resolve the gas pricing dispute with Ukraine and has made a number of constructive proposals to tackle the problem which have been rejected in Kiev, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in newspaper comments on Friday.
Asked whether there were chances for a compromise, Novak told Germany’s largest business and finance daily, Handelsblatt: “We are interested in it anyway.”
The minister said the parties already had eight rounds of talks on the dispute and Russia made some constructive proposals for pricing and the settlement of Ukraine’s debts.
“But Ukraine rejected them all,” Novak was quoted as saying.
Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks
Russia, Ukraine and the European Union are scheduled to hold a trilateral gas meeting in Berlin on September 26.
Taking part in the consultations will be the EU outgoing energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan.
The focus will be made on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and issues of energy security, a spokesman for the EU commission representation in Berlin told ITAR-TASS.
The key task of the talks is to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies both to Ukraine and the European Union in the coming winter
#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – July 29 – Germany’s constitutional court is once again to be a testing ground for the eurozone’s reponse to the financial crisis as a group of academics has filed a case arguing that the banking union is illegal reported EUobserver on the July 28 in Brussels.
The five academics argue that the Banking union – a new supervisory and bank resolution system for eurozone banks – breaches German law as it was not agreed with the right treaty changes, reports Die Welt am Sonntag.
Markus Kerber, a finance professor at Berlin Technical University (TUB), told the paper that the banking union had "no legal basis in the EU treaties and so represents a breach of constitutional rights."
The supervisory system – under which the European Central Bank will, from November, oversee the financial health of around 120 banks with the power to shut them down – is the "pinnacle of Brussels power-grabbing to date", says Kerber.
The complainants, who filed their papers last week, also find that a conflict of interest has arisen because the ECB council, which also makes interest rate decisions, has a veto right on banking supervision decisions.
The challenge also calls into question the Single Resolution Mechanism, which sets out to deal with failing banks, as well as the €55bn fund meant to cover the costs of the process.
#AceFinanceNews – KIEV – May 08 – Ukraine is continuing to import gas from Poland and Hungary using a reverse-flow supply scheme, the press service of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry said on Thursday, May 8.
“Starting from May, Ukraine has been receiving up to 14 million cubic metres of natural gas from Hungary daily in reverse-flow mode,” the ministry said.
“Technically, the maximum amount of 4 million cubic metres of gas can be supplied through Poland daily for the time being, or about 1.5 billion cubic meters a year,” it said.
According to Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Prodan, reverse-flow supplies can reach 8 billion cubic metres by September 1, 2014, not by 2015. Gas will be supplied by the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline, not the transit pipeline.
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said such supplies would not require the Russian company’s agreement and would give Ukraine up to 10 billion cubic metres of a gas a year but stressed that reverse-flow gas supplies from Slovakia to Ukraine by the trunk pipeline would be impossible without Gazprom’s consent as it would run counter to the Slovak company Eustream’s contractual obligations.
Oettinger believes that diversification of supplies will help to solve Ukraine’s gas problem in part. However reverse-flow supplies from Poland and Hungary by the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline will not be enough for Ukraine get through the coming winter comfortably.
Kiev is planning to buy about 290 million cubic metres of gas in Europe in reverse mode (about 140 million cubic metres will be delivered through Poland and the rest through Hungary).
Russian News – Press – Itar-Tass
#AceFinanceNews – LONDON – May 01 – /ITAR-TASS/. U.S. Administration has rebuked Bahrain, a Gulf state with which it has a close strategic relationship, for signing an investment cooperation deal with Russia, which Washington and its European allies are trying to subject to punitive economic measures at the moment.
“With Russia continuing its efforts to destabilize Ukraine, this is not the time for any country to conduct business as usual (with Moscow),” an official at the U.S. Department of State told Reuters Wednesday.
He said Washington had raised concern over the signing with the Bahraini government.
Russian Direct Investment Fund issued a statement Tuesday saying it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain on expanding both countries’ investment opportunities.
The statement said, among other things, that the Bahraini fund’s CEO, Mahmood al-Kooheji would join the RDIF international advisory board and would help formulate its strategic guidelines.
The deal was signed at the end of Wednesday’s visit to Moscow by Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad al-Khalifa who was received by President Vladimir Putin.
International analysts point out the symbolism of the deal. According to Reuters, it suggests that Western sanctions “may not deter other countries from continuing to expand business ties with Russia.
AceFinanceNews – BRITAIN – April 30 – The Co-operative Group is facing calls to claw back pay from the executives who presided over its tumble towards collapse as a review blames a “culture of mediocrity”.
The independent review of the problems which led to a £1.5bn funding gap, carried out by Sir Christopher Kelly, was commissioned by the bank before it fell into the control of US hedge funds.
It concluded the roots of its problems lay in its 2009 merger with the Britannia Building Society – burdened by property loans which turned sour at the height of the financial crisis.
Sir Christopher said the bank’s demise reflected a “sorry story of failings” on many levels.
The review found “overwhelming” evidence that Britannia chief executive Neville Richardson, who took over as boss following the tie-up, failed to leave the new business “in a good position” when he left in 2011.
It also said the culture of the bank was such that there was a “willingness to accept poor performance” and a “tendency not to welcome challenge”.
Led at the time by Peter Marks, the board of the wider Co-operative Group was also criticised.
Sir Christopher said it had failed to provide an “effective stewardship” and had let down the group’s millions of members.
The findings were released as research by Sky News identified pay and bonuses among three key figures in the Co-operative movement worth more than £12m between 2008 and 2012.
Mr Marks topped the list with a total £8.1m, followed by Mr Richardson with £3.77m and disgraced former Bank chairman Reverend Paul Flowers, who received £750,000.
In an interview with Sky News John Mann MP, a member of the Treasury Select Committee and member of the co-operative movement, slammed rewards for failure and said the report showed that shareholders deserved to get money back.
Commenting on the conclusions of his report, Sir Christopher told Sky News: “The executive of the bank proved incapable of dealing with some of the difficult issues it faced.
( Guardian) Reported – December 13 – Regulators should investigate how investment banks are paid for takeover advice, according to the head of the Treasury select committee, after JP Morgan revealed it received £7m for advising the Co-op Bank on its disastrous merger with Britannia Building Society.
The US bank would have received nothing if the deal had not gone ahead, the bank revealed to MPs.
Members of the Treasury select committee said the investment bank had given “a green light” to Co-op’smanagement to do the deal which generated a multimillion pound fee for the US bank.
Tim Wise, one of JP Morgan’s top bankers, admitted that the Britannia merger had worked out badly but insisted his bank’s advice was sound at the time and that he would never be swayed by the prospect of a large fee.
However, the committee’s chair, Andrew Tyrie, said after the hearing that regulators should scrutinise how investment banks are paid for orchestrating takeovers. “A fee structure for the provision of independent advice that heavily incentivises one outcome over others strikes me as inherently problematic.
The industry and the regulators will need to look closely at the way such advice is remunerated,” he said.
Ace Related News:
1. Sky News – April 30 – http://tinyurl.com/pnvljrg
2. Guardian – December 13 – http://tinyurl.com/paaju22
#AceFinanceNews – LONDON – April 25 – International rating agency S&P has downgraded Russia’s sovereign rating from BBB to BBB- with ‘negative’ outlook.
S&P has explained downgrading of Russia’s sovereign credit rating from BBB to BBB – with capital flight from the country in the first quarter of 2014 and reduced capabilities to attract funding on foreign financial markets due to current Ukrainian political crisis, the agency stated.
“We believe that the complex geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine may lead to additional substantial outflow of both foreign and local capital of the Russian economy, undermining the already weak growth prospects,” S&P said.
#AceFinanceNews – ANKARA – April 18 – Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz has said Turkey would like to discuss possible discounts for the Russian gas current price at the upcoming talks scheduled for next week.
“The agreement, we signed with the Russian side, offers to us a right to request revision of gas prices. We shall pass the request to Gazprom’s representatives,” Yildiz said on Friday.
Russia was Turkey’s biggest gas supplier, he said.
#AceFinanceNews – MOSCOW – April 14 – Eight billion cubic meters of gas in Ukraine’s underground storage facilities is enough for three months’ uninterrupted transit of Russian natural gas to Europe, parliament-appointed Minister for Energy and Coal Yuriy Prodan told Bulgarian national radio on Monday.
“Within a certain period of time, up to three months, Ukraine will be able to ensure gas transit to European countries. Within this period of time we must consider the issue of gas pumping and settle it before June,” the minister said.
However, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine needs about 11 billion cubic meters in underground storage to guarantee uninterrupted transit of Russian gas to Europe, he told European leaders in a letter last Friday. Under the current price for Russian gas of $485.5 per 1,000 cubic meters, up to $5 billion will be needed.
Currently, 7.2 billion cubic meters is in underground storage, head of Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz Andriy Kobolev has reported. According to Russian supplier Gazprom, 6.5 billion cubic meters lay underground on April 9.
#AceFinanceNews – MOSCOW- April 10 – VTB chief Andrei Kostin mentioned “politically motivated” complexities which the Bank of England brings about for the operations of the London-based subsidiary bank VTB Capital.
“Over the recent weeks, we have been experiencing a very strong pressure on the part of the Bank of England with regard to our bank VTB Capital.
This is the only Russian bank with a full license.
Attempts are being made to place demands on us, the demands that are incompatible with the regular supervision practice,” Kostin pointed out in an interview published in the newspaper Izvestia on Thursday.
“We applied to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBRF) in a request to render assistance in talks with the Bank of England, because those demands do not conform to a professional approach. They contain, rather, a large share of political motivation.
All verifications testified to the fact that the bank is reliable and stable and does not bring problems for the UK financial sector.”
The chief of the VTB Group sets hope on the possibility to prove that “this kind of actions with regard to the Russian bank in the UK is not quite compatible with international norms of supervision”.
In response to a question whether VTB plans to seek Russian government’s protection, Kostin said, “We are operating on the territory of another state and in line with UK law which we do not break. I consider that talks through the CBRF will be the most effective.”