Russia's major platinum group metals (PGM) producer, Norilsk Nickel , said on Friday supplies to Japan under long-term contracts next year may start in January. Russia's sole precious metals exporting agency, Almazjuvelirexport, through which Norilsk exports its PGMs, signs contracts each year with Japanese firms. But since 1997 red tape in Moscow has delayed conclusion of the deals each year for several months, causing price rallies, Reuters announces. "In order to prevent supply delays and to start shipping our output from January 2001, Norilsk Nickel authorised its agent, Almazjuvelirexport, to send proposals to leading Japanese end users," Norilsk's first deputy CEO Dmitry Zelenin said.
The Kremlin has taken two strong steps in a war of nerves that has caused quite a stir in the NATO-Ukraine alliance