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    3.6 % RISE OF ROUBLE VS DOLLAR RATE

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    MOSCOW, February 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - A real exchange rate of the rouble to the dollar went up by 3.6 percent in January. The gold and hard currency reserves of the Russian Federation increased by 7 billion dollars in a month. At the same time, the aggregate flow of foreign currency into the country dropped by approximately 20 percent in comparison with last December. These figures can be found in the report about the state of the internal financial market in January which was published by the Central Bank of Russia today.

    According to its data, the flow of smaller amounts of foreign currency into the country did not lead to its increased demand.

    Within a month, the Bank of Russia periodically carried out interventions on the internal hard currency market with the aim of preventing sharp fluctuations of the rouble, the document says.

    There was practically no change in aggregate number of the rouble/dollar exchange deals last December, but the amount of the operations under "tomorrow" settlements increased. During a month, it increased by nearly one billion dollars, the Russian Central Bank reports. The report also points out another peculiarity of last January - a twofold growth of the rouble/euro deals.

    Despite some reduction of export proceeds, which have to be sold to the state, the Russian money market still witnessed oversupply of borrowed funds. The average daily balance of credit organisations on correspondent accounts with the Bank of Russia has risen by 18 percent over December. In the opinion of the report's authors, this fact helped maintain inter-bank credit percent rates at a stable low level.

    In order to limit the influence of excess liquidity on the inflation level, the Bank of Russia actively conducted sterilisation measures - in particular, the sale of government securities on the open market with a commitment of redeeming them. The results of this month have shown that a total amount of such deals equalled 32 billion roubles (some 1.12 billion dollars). Apart from that, the Bank sold 2.6 billion roubles' worth of government securities out of its portfolio.

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