World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia and Italy ramped up their strategic cooperation on energy as Prime Minister Mario Monti made his first visit to the world's largest oil-producing nation on Monday to refresh ties that were typically warm under his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi.
Technocrat premier Monti met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow and was due to discuss plans for a major Russian gas export pipeline project to serve southern Europe at talks with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi later.
The meeting, at Putin's summer retreat in the Black Sea resort, was also expected to address international issues, including the deepening crisis in Syria.
South Stream, a Russian-backed pipeline project to ship gas from the Caspian region, is expected to cost more than 15 billion euros ($18 billion) and export 63 billion cubic metres of gas to southern Europe from 2015.
A final investment decision on South Stream, a rival to a European Union-backed project called Nabucco, is expected in November, with construction to start in December, the Kremlin said ahead of Monti's visit.
Project partner Eni said this month that it expected the final investment decision for South Stream in late 2012 or early 2013.
The South Stream consortium also includes France's EDF and Germany's Wintershall.
Eni also signed an exploration loan facility agreement on Monday with state-owned Russian oil major Rosneft. The agreement seals a major offshore exploration partnership that the two companies struck in April for projects in the Barents and Black seas.
Bourses in both Paris and Frankfurt dipped after a report from data monitoring company IHS Markit showed Eurozone private sector business activity slowed sharply in June while staying in expansion mode.
Analysts said that while the downturn in the headline readings was disappointing, the economy continued to put in a strong performance.
Crude prices stabilised after diving more than two percent on Tuesday on increasing fears of a global supply glut, as continued production in the US and elsewhere offsets an OPEC output cut deal.
Move estimated to save company $1B in investment costs
However, most other regional markets struggled after Monday's healthy gains, despite being given a positive lead from Wall Street where the Dow and S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs.
The purchase in one fell swoop gives Amazon, which until now has operated almost entirely on the internet, a big presence in the brick-and-mortar world on Main Street, with more than 450 stores in the US, Canada and Britain.
"The Bank of Russia Board of Directors decided to cut the key rate to 9.00 percent per annum," the bank said in a statement. The cut follows a half-point decrease in late April.
Equity traders have suffered a fraught week as the crisis engulfing Donald Trump picks up pace, technology firms tumbled from recent highs and energy plays were hammered by plunging oil prices.
"In May 2017, passenger car registrations across the EU increased by 7.6 percent to 1.387 million units," ACEA said in a statement.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index climbed 0.4 percent to 12,746.05 points, and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.5 percent to 5,243.53 compared with the close on Thursday.
Eastern Mediterranean gas deposits discussed at high-level meeting in Thessaloniki
While a "rebalancing of the market" was "underway," it was "at a slower pace than originally anticipated," the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wrote in its latest monthly oil market report.