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    DOLLAR/ROUBLE RATE CONTINUES TO FALL

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    MOSCOW, April 7, 2004 - RIA Novosti. The dollar/rouble exchange rate is again falling: by the results of the MICEX joint session, it has lost more than a copeck.

    According to dealers, speculative purchases of American dollars conducted at MICEX during the past several days have practically stopped: the dollar is no longer rising on the world market, though some rise has been registered since the end of past week.

    On the Russian market, the main danger for the dollar comes from the sale of exporters' currency earnings, since surplus supply of the US dollar prevents its rise against the Russian currency.

    "Everybody expects fabulous export receipts to flood the market," said Mikhail Gomma, a dealer with the Kredit-Moskva bank. By estimates, it can reach $4 billion.

    In Gomma's opinion, two scenarios are possible in this case:: the market will either sell dollars to the Cenral Bank at its bidding price of 28.485 roubles per dollar, or will lower the rate without the Central Bank.

    At present, the Central Bank's tough bid, which has been invariable since January 26, restricts the potential fall of the dollar/rouble rate.

    The dealers do not rule out that export earnings will help them to bypass the market, but even then the dollar prospects are not too optimistic. Sooner of later, the Central Bank will have to give up its level of support for the dollar. In the opinion of the market participants, this may happen in summer. According to Gomma, the Central Bank may lower its bid to 28.2 roubles per dollar.

    Till the end of this week, the Central Bank will hardly have any need to interfere in auctions, but the dollar will not cost more than 28.52 roubles on the market, the dealer added.

    A rise in the euro exchange rate on the world currency market helped to support the rouble/euro rate at the MICEX: it has resumed its rise after the fall on Monday and Tuesday.

    The dollar at the MICEX with "tomorrow" settlements at the MICEX joint session cost 28.5296 roubles, showing a drop by 1.14 copecks from its Tuesday value. The "today's" euro in rose by 6.88 copecks - to as much as 34.4492 roubles. The Central Bank's fixed exchange rates since April 6 are 28.5296 roubles per dollar and 34.4038 per euro.

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