RUSSIA: MONTH'S INFLATION ROUND 1%, EXPECTS MINISTRY

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MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 26 (RIA NOVOSTI) - This month's inflation will make 1.2 or 1.3 per cent, as against 1.6 for February 2003, forecasts Russia's Ministry of Economic Development and Trade in a current economic review circulated today.

Last month's inflation was 1.8 per cent, as against 2.4 per cent in January 2003.

Inflation rates are getting down as public solvency increases, point out ministerial experts. They track the improvements down to slower cash circulation as public interests are switching to the ruble from the US dollar. There are other reasons, too - import commodity prices are growing slower than before as the ruble is rising vs. the dollar. National budget policies are very circumspect. The Central Bank of Russia has spectacularly built up gold and currency reserves, and so can afford to curb down emission. Last but not least come government efforts to limit natural monopoly pricing.

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