Minister says Stabilization Fund to help slash inflation

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MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Thursday that the Stabilization Fund would help reduce the rate of inflation to 4.5% in 2008.

"The Stabilization Fund makes it possible to keep inflation in check and to cut it to the acceptable figure of 4.5% in 2008," Kudrin said at the State Duma, parliament's lower house, which is currently considering the 2006 draft budget in the first reading.

"We should spare Russian people from tiring inflation," Kudrin said.

As of August 1, the Stabilization Fund had accrued 721 billion rubles ($25.41 billion).

Kudrin said the Stabilization Fund that had been accumulating emission means was the key to economic stability and that the fund could either be changed into foreign currency outside Russia or used in some other way that would not be detrimental to the economy.

He said a balanced financial system and lower inflation were the key goals and that the Stabilization Fund was a major way to reach them.

The year 2008 is a presidential election year in Russia.

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