World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia's Gazprom will repay about 1 billion euros ($1.28 billion) to its European clients by the end of the year as part of an agreement to cut gas prices, a company official said on Monday.
The state-run gas producer had agreed to tweak long-term deals with key European customers who claimed that its prices were too high and it returned more than 78 billion roubles ($2.43 billion) in the first quarter.
The repayments failed to stop the European Commision from launching an investigation into Gazprom last week. The Commission is to look at suspected anti-competitive practices in central and eastern Europe and could issue fines of up to $5 billion.
Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev told a conference call on Monday that the new payments would be "significantly lower" than in the first quarter and would total about 1 billion euros, "plus or minus 10 to 15 percent".
The bulk of this will go to German utility E.ON.
The European Commission's action continues what has been a tense relationship between the European Union and Moscow over energy policy as European governments seek new sources for their gas.
Lithuania and the Czech subsidiary of RWE, Germany's second-biggest utility company, had both been trying to negotiate better deals on their gas from Russia, while Poland's PGNiG went as far as bringing Gazprom into an arbitration court.
Gazprom last week reported a 24 percent fall in first-quarter net profits because of its repayments so far and said that it was ready to cooperate with the European Commission investigation.
Medvedev added that he will soon meet a deputy competition commissioner to discuss the investigation face to face. ($1 = 0.7812 euros)
Turkish parliament has already ratified the deal on construction of ‘TurkStream’ natural gas pipeline
The September rate was revised to 9.9 percent from the 10 percent first given last month.
Many analysts had expected the producers' cartel to fail to reach a deal as major players like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia remained divided ahead of the meeting.
The report, which collects views of economists, business contacts and others in the 12 Federal Reserve districts in preparation for the monetary policy meeting next month, noted improved retail sales and home construction in most regions.
If the cartel does not reach a deal to cut output, prices could fall below $40 a barrel
European air travel giant Lufthansa has been battling its own pilots over pay and conditions for more than two years.
Failure to get an accord on Wednesday could send oil prices tumbling and deal a further blow to the credibility of the 56-year-old Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Around midday, shares in Italian lenders Unicredit and Banco Popolare were down 4 percent compared with Friday's closing levels.
Officials on Friday's said the tie-up between the Hong Kong and Shenzhen markets will start on December 5.
The announcement comes as the country is gearing up for a key election next year, with the parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand right-left coalition keen to woo ageing voters.
The weak inflation data -- core prices excluding fresh food fell 0.4 percent from a year ago -- come several weeks after Japan's central bank pushed back the timeline for hitting its 2.0 percent inflation target.
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The Ifo's headline business confidence index reached 110.4 points in November, unchanged from the October reading, and the highest level since April 2014.
More than 900 flights scheduled for Thursday cancelled as strike by pilots enters second day
Gross domestic product was expected to grow by only 1.4 percent next year -- sharply down from the prior estimate of 2.2 percent given in March.