RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO CREATE NATIONAL PETROCHEMICALS MARKET

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MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Economic Development Ministry is preparing a plan to create a national petrochemicals market.

"This may be the first step to create a petroleum market in Russia," Anna Popova, director of the Ministry's corporate governance department, told journalists.

Creation of the market will require a law on exchanges and necessary infrastructure. "The first step is legislation on exchanges and derivatives, followed by the very complicated and expensive procedure of forming exchange instruments," she said.

Russia's problem is that most of oil is either exported or sold as a state order, she believes. There is no petroleum market as such, and there are no financial instruments, equities, she explained.

The Ministry has worked out a concept of the law on exchanges, Popova also said.

"The bill will be titled 'On organized markets and exchange trade'. It aims at introducing common rules for commodity, currency and stock markets," she explained.

The bill will also regulate the market of derivatives, she added. It will unify requirements to all financial markets as much as possible, she said.

"The Federal Financial Markets Service is expected to be the only regulator of financial markets," Popova pointed out.

According to her, the Central Bank has agreed to the concept and is ready to pass currency exchange regulation to the Service if the law is adopted. "Today there is no legislation on currency market trading, it is regulated only by the Central Bank's enactments," she explained.

Also, the Ministry has prepared a three-year plan to develop financial markets in Russia, the official said.

"The plan includes all key events and legislative initiatives the government wants to make in 2004, 2005 and 2006," she added.

The plan has already been coordinated with all interested agencies and submitted to the Justice Ministry, which is making a plan of legislative activities for 2005, she concluded.

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