MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) - A Bank of Russia official denied rumors Thursday that the ruble is weakening, claiming it is a strong and stable currency.
“The rumors of the ruble’s weakening are largely exaggerated,” said Sergei Shvetsov, head of the Central Bank’s Financial Markets Service.
From January to July the ruble fell 8.7 percent against the dollar and euro bi-currency basket against which the exchange rate is set. The dynamics of the Russian currency has been affected among other things by the Finance Ministry’s statement that it planned purchases of hard currency on the market.
The Central Bank, which increased the level of its hard currency interventions in June and July to alleviate sharp fluctuations in the exchange rate, has said it will continue to make the ruble exchange rate more flexible.
Shvetsov described the ruble dynamics in recent months as fluctuations.
“These are fluctuations as we are moving toward the free float of the ruble,” he said.
The strength of the ruble has been a matter of some controversy, with newly appointed Central Bank head Elvira Nabiullina under pressure to maintain interest rates to keep the ruble up while inflation remains stubbornly high, despite calls from some to let the ruble fall in order to stimulate the economy.