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By John Helmer, Moscow In the long history of English justice, it has happened before that candidates for the seats of the highest court in land have been obliged to rehearse their talents and qualifications before the monarch on his throne (aka the Crown). And not only their qualifications, technical and professional, but also their […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Renco and its subsidiary RG Steel, the defendants in Severstal’s New York court claim, have a month to file their reply, and for the time being they are saying nothing. Bette Kovach, spokesman for RG Steel, and Andrew Shea, spokesman for Renco, say they “will not comment on matters in litigation.” […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Severstal has issued a claim in US Federal Court (Manhattan Southern District) against RG Steel, a unit of the private American steelmaking group, Renco. Severstal owner Alexei Mordashov (left image) wants it to be known in the Russian media that he thinks he’s been stiffed. But he doesn’t want anyone to […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Fitch Ratings issued a modified warning on Sovcomflot this week, claiming that the big Russian’s tanker revenues were at risk of coming up short against the company’s obligations. In that event, Fitch London analyst Jeannine Arnold reports, Sovcomflot may have to sell off the hulls and newbuildings which are on order, […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When crisis strikes the global steel sector, sales revenues drop faster than costs, and earnings and profits shrink. The normal correction is for mill owners to cut their costs by reducing production, closing furnaces, furloughing workers, trimming supply of steel into the marketplace, cutting product prices to clear unsold inventories, and […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian government has made good on an earlier threat to penalize grain exports if the export tonnage exceeds the level that threatens domestic supplies and triggers grain and bread price increases before the December parliamentary elections. Fear of bread price rises detonating voter discontent first appeared a year ago, when […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Now for those who think the appetite for due diligence and accountability deadens the taste for opportunity, the good news from the Russian goldmines comes today from Alfa Bank’s metals analyst Barry Ehrlich, in a set of three fine reports. The global supply and demand balance for gold is stable: the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Sergei Naryshkin (right image), the Kremlin chief of staff, who has been chairman of the board of Sovcomflot, the state-owned tanker operator, has been replaced by Ilya Klebanov (left), a former federal minister of industry, according to a Kremlin release last Friday, October 7. The appointment appears to have taken Sovcomflot […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Alrosa, the Russian state diamond monopoly and world’s largest producer of rough, moved last week to resist price-cutting and discounting pressure across global diamond markets by announcing it will reduce its supply of rough for sale instead.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Mukhamedshin, the man in charge of raising money and covering debt for United Company Rusal, was spotted last week in London carrying bags into his mansion. This is what has been happening to the aluminium he has been selling: