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    RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK CHIEF ON MACRO-ECONOMIC SITUATION

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 4, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/ -- President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation met Central Bank board chairman Sergei Ignatyev here today, discussing the nationwide macro-economic situation.

    The Central Bank believes that the macro-economic situation is quite favorable, Ignatyev told Putin. We have attained all monetary-policy goals for the 2003 period, Ignatyev went on to say.

    According to Ignatyev, inflation totalled 12 percent last year (in line with initial plans), subsiding on 2002 levels, i.e. 15.1 percent.

    Inflation continues to subside this year, as well, totalling 1.8 percent this past January, Ignatyev added.

    Replying to Putin's question, Ignatyev noted that 2.4-percent inflation was registered in January 2003; meanwhile such inflation totalled 3.1 percent over the January 2002 period.

    Inflation usually hits an all-time high each January, Ignatyev stressed. This can be explained by the fact that service-sector prices usually rise in January; seasonal agricultural-price hikes are registered, as well.

    We are witnessing extremely moderate inflation this year; consequently, we can rest assured that we'll attain specific parameters of the 2004 monetary policy, Ignatyev said in conclusion.

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