The late ticker: Diamond deal near

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The Independent Online
Russia may sign a new marketing deal with diamond giant De Beers as early as this week, according to the latest noises from its industry ministry.

De Beers would dearly like to announce a deal by its final results on 4 March, but an accord agreed last September has been held up by Russian elections and squabbling between industry factions.

This weekend, foreign trade minister Oleg Davydov said a deal was possible by the end of this month.

The Russian government, the diamond-producing republic of Sakha and the country's diamond cutters' have yet to agree how to slice up the $1.3bn cake a deal would bring.