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    CENTRAL BANK DOES NOT INTERVENE IN MICEX TRADING ON FRIDAY, DOLLAR DROPS BELOW 29 ROUBLES

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    MOSCOW, January 9, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent/. On Friday, the falling dollar broke through the 29 rouble mark, stopping at 28,9918 roubles per dollar at the end of a unified trading session on the MICEX. Compared with yesterday's figure, the American currency lost another 14 kopecks against the Russian rouble.

    Deals during the session with tomorrow settlement were concluded at 28.97 to 29.04 roubles per dollar. Market activity was low, with the volume of trading amounting to 68,925,000 dollars.

    Dealers point out that this is a second day that the Central Bank has not purchased dollars from market players, while the offer of the American currency in the form of currency earnings still remains considerable. Besides, the strengthening of European currencies on the international forex market and high oil prices continue to exert pressure on the dollar.

    In expert opinion, the existing situation looks quite logical, and there is nothing surprising about the fact that the country's main bank has so far ceased to intervene in trading. Considerable rouble interventions /on Tuesday, for example, the bank purchased, according to various estimates, between 900 and 1,000 million dollars/, increases the money supply in the country, say experts, and drives up inflation, while control of this process is one of the priority tasks of the leading Russian financial institution.

    A two-day absence of the Bank of Russia from trading is seen by experts as a gradual cessation of its interference in the process of forming the official exchange rate. The Central Bank's rouble interventions will continue, however, experts believe.

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