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    Russian Ruble to Weaken, Then Stabilize in Foreseeable Future - Economy Minister

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    The Russian ruble is expected to weaken then stabilize in the foreseeable future, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin said after meeting President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

    NOVO-OGARYOVO (Moscow Region), (Sputnik) — Commenting on the ruble's latest upward surge, trading as low as 58 rubles against the US dollar this week for the first time since mid-2015, Oreshkin said the government saw the trend as short-term and therefore did not plan drastic policy changes.

    "In general, we expect that in the near future there will be a certain weakening of the ruble, and then its stabilization," Oreshkin told reporters.

    The government would react promptly in the event of the Russian currency's further upward movement, the minister said. He added that Russia's economic trends discussed with Putin, based on January indicators, were showing positive signs.

    "Inflation, on the contrary, we see that it is declining than expected by the government and by the Central Bank. That is good news," Oreshkin said.

    The Russian authorities do not plan to alter their monetary policy because of the current strengthening of the ruble, but the government will monitor the situation on the currency market and quickly react if necessary, Oreshkin said.

    "No changes in government actions are planned…. The government continues to closely monitor the situation and, if necessary, will respond to this situation," Oreshkin told reporters.

    "The Central Bank sticks to the floating exchange rate policy. The Ministry of Finance continues to carry out the interventions that started on February 7. Now the Ministry of Finance buys about $100 million every day," Oreshkin added.

    The Russian economy suffered a setback in 2014, as the ruble lost about half of its value against the US dollar amid low global oil prices and Western economic sanctions imposed against Russia over the situation in eastern Ukraine. In January 2016, the ruble was at 77 per US dollar which, on the bright side, made exports from the country more competitive and helped to bring the budget into balance.

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    economy, ruble, Maxim Oreshkin
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