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Russian equities emerged extremely positively from the holiday season. Oil firms received a healthy boost by Opec's announcement of production cuts at the end of December. This spurred the Russian Trading System (RTS) to soar by 16.97pc to 285.59 points -- its highest level since 1998.
Oil firms derived further upward momentum from a reduction in crude and product export taxes (see p6). This could save Russian companies up to $300mn in February and March, say analysts.
Russia also received further positive signals from the head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mike Moore. He hinted that the country could become a member within the next year, despite previous predictions of Russia not being able to join until at least 2003.
Shares in Russia's major oil firms rose sharply across the board. Surgutneftegaz gained 20.48pc to reach 35.3 cents buoyed by an announcement that it would raise crude output by as much as 14pc in 2002, to 1mn b/d.
Yukos also rose, by 18.49pc to $5.70, its highest value since 1997. It was boosted by reports that it is in talks with Azeri firm Socar and is planning to use some of its large cash …