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    LAST YEAR BANKS SOLD MORE CURRENCY TO INDIVIDUALS THAN BOUGHT FROM THEM

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    MOSCOW, February 16, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - In 2003, authorized banks sold 1.15 times more foreign currency to individuals than bought from them, with EURO sales exceeding the purchase three times, the Bank of Russia reports.

    Last year banks bought from individuals or took for conversion 19,655.33 million dollars worth of foreign cash, while selling the equivalent of 22,665.64 million dollars. As for USD proper, these figures are 17,390.76 million and 16,173.63 million respectively, with 2,161.76 and 6,405,32 million for EURO, and 91.81 and 90.69 million for other currencies.

    It is noteworthy that EURO sales showed steady positive balance over the purchase throughout the whole 2003, while USD sales were higher than purchase in January, April, July, August, September, October and November.

    In December 2003, banks acquired from individuals and took for conversion 3,032.19 million dollars worth of foreign cash, which is 3.5 times higher than observed in January last year and 1.8 times more than in November. At the same time in December last year they sold to individuals or converted for them 2,319.16 million dollars worth of foreign cash, which is 1.1 times more than in November and 1.3 times more than in January 2003.

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