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Hungary, Russia Agree on Gas Deliveries as Trade Volume Goes up

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Hungarian gas reserves will receive an additional 2 billion cubic meters from Russia this year with another 2 bcm of Russian gas coming via Austria next year, the country’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has said, according to the Oil & Gas Journal.

Szijjarto gave the statement after signing agreements at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) last Thursday.    

Natural gas supplies from Gazprom to Hungary from Jan. 1 through June 5 totaled 4.3 billion cu m, a 57.5% increase vs. the same period last year, the minister said after a meeting with the Russian gas giant’s CEO Alexey Miller.

Development of the Hungarian gas transmission system also was discussed. The Hungarian party expressed its intention to make sure that the gas that is planned to be supplied to Europe via the transit string of the TurkStream gas pipeline can be received by Hungary in the shortest possible time.

In 2018, Gazprom supplied to Hungary 7.6 bcm of gas, an increase of 9.3% from 2017, when Miller and Szijjarto signed a roadmap to implement a number of measures aimed at developing Hungary’s gas transmission system.

Hungary gets most of its gas from Russia via a pipeline that passes through Ukraine. The current agreement between Russia and Ukraine on the transit of gas bound for Europe expires on December 31, 2019, and the sides have still not signed another to replace it.  Tensions between Moscow and Kiev in the past have resulted in interruptions of gas deliveries to Europe.

Szijjarto said he had met with his Russian peer Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, and Minister of Energy Alexander Novak in St. Petersburg.

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Russian Tourists to Favor Turkey Again This Year: ATOR

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Turkey will again be the number one destination for Russian tourists this summer, the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR) has said, according to Interfax.

Russian tourists have again decided in favor of Turkey for their vacations, which is seen by a 10%-15% rise in demand for Turkish tourist packages compared to the same period last year, the business association said.

Sector representatives indicate that Turkey is a much more attractive holiday spot compared to its competitors due to the climate, affordable prices and high quality offerings.

According to the Antalya Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, the holiday resort city hosted about 1.25 million Russian tourists in the first five months of this year, a 20% increase year-on-year.

Officials expect 6 million Russian tourists to visit Turkey this year, about the same number as in 2018.

The Ambassador of Turkey to the Russian Federation, Mehmet Samsar, says that the preferences of Russians on holidays in Turkey have changed in recent years. “Russian tourists began to visit Turkey not only for the beach, but also for cultural and recreational rest at the hot springs. Interest in Cappadocia, Izmir, Istanbul, as well as the beaches of Dalaman and Bodrum increased,” he said.

Samsar added that about 35-40 million foreign tourists visit Turkey annually, and the country has a great potential to increase tourist traffic.

“Even if 600,000 more tourists arrive in 2019, this is already good growth,” he said.

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Russia, Qatar Vow to Increase Trade Volume to $500mn in 2020

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Commercial exchange between Qatar and Russia will increase to 500 million dollars by 2020, Russian ambassador to Doha Nurmakhmad Kholov has said, according to Prime news agency.

During a reception held Monday night to mark the National Day of the Russian Federation, Kholov announced that Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani would visit Russia this year’s fall.

He also commented on the increasingly close ties between Russia and Qatar, and recalled Al Thani’s two visits to the Eurasian country in 2018.

“Doha and Moscow have fruitful cooperation in fields such as energy, investment, construction, industry, agriculture, tourism, culture, sports, innovation and education, as well as exchange of experiences for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” the envoy said.

“The establishment of exports from Russian agricultural products to Qatar is another mission in process to ensure food security and economic stability of the country, given the country being blocked by former key exporters (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain),” he added.

Kholov also stressed that Qatar is the biggest investor in Russia’s economy among the Gulf Council countries.

According to the ambassador, other projects are under consideration in sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, health, real estate, oil and gas.

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Moscow No Longer Among World’s 100 Most Expensive Cities for Foreigners

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The depreciating ruble, the drop in oil prices and continuing anti-Russian sanctions have caused Moscow to drop out of the list of top-100 most expensive cities in the world for foreigners, says the new Cost of Living Index report by international consultancy ECA International.

According to the report, cited by Channel 5, Moscow dropped 66 places to hit 120, while St. Petersburg exhibited a similar trend, falling by 31 spots and landing in 172th place.

A weaker euro resulted in EU cities becoming less expensive for foreigners working there – overall, Europe only takes up 19% of the rating, while the United States demonstrated the opposite tendency. A stronger dollar saw 25 U.S. cities being ranked in the top-100, while only ten made it into the list last year.

This time, Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, was placed first in the list of cities most expensive for foreigners to live in, managing to surpass two Swiss cities, namely Zurich (2) and Geneva (3) that are traditionally ranked very high. They are followed by Hong Kong in the 4rd place, Basel (Switzerland) comes 5th, Bern (Switzerland) placed 6th, Tokyo (Japan) – 7, Seoul (South Korea) – 8, Tel Aviv (Israel) – 9, while Shanghai (China) closes out the top-10.

The Venezuelan capital, Caracas, suffered the most impressive drop, coming from being the leader of the rating last year to falling to the 238th spot because of the inflation that reaches $1.3 million on a year-on-year basis.

Overall, the research compared market baskets of 482 cities all over the world. Tehran occupies the very last place, because of U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran.

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