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    NO REACTION FROM CURRENCY MARKET AFTER FRADKOV ANNOUNCEMENT

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    MOSCOW, March 1, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The reaction of the currency market to the Russian president's proposal to appoint Mikhail Fradkov to the post of prime minister was neutral.

    A spokesman for the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) said that before the media's reports about the president's decision, the dollar exchange rate at today's MICEX session was 28.52-28.53 rubles to the dollar.

    After the president's decision was announced, the rate was 28.53-28.54 rubles to the dollar. "This growth should not be linked with Fradkov's appointment," added the spokesman.

    "Fradkov's candidacy is so unexpected that the market does not know how to react," Sergei Romanchuk, a Metallinvestbank dealer, said. He said that this uncertainty would remain until the composition of the Cabinet of Ministers is announced.

    A Zenit bank dealer, Dmitry Shchebrov, also confirmed the practical absence of a reaction from the currency market after the announcement of a possible prime minister. "The news did not influence the economic situation," he said and added that the amount of dollars in circulation is still large, and a slight rise in purchases of the American currency is due to the market situation. Mr. Shchebrov specified that deals at the afternoon trading session under "tomorrow" settlements were signed in the range of 28.53-28.54 rubles to the dollar.

    Mr. Romanchuk said that the Central Bank did not offer its bid at the trading session on Monday because the exchange quotations were higher than the level of the Central Bank's support.

    Mr. Romanchuk said that the currency market will remain stable in the near future, and that until the presidential elections the fluctuations of the exchange rate will be 28.48-28.55 rubles to the dollar.

    The average-weighted rate of the dollar at the electronic trading session of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange under "tomorrow" settlements was 28.5162 rubles to the dollar at 11:30 a.m., Moscow time, and 32 deals worth $31.32 million were made. At 1:30 p.m., Moscow time, the average-weighted rate of the dollar under "tomorrow" settlements was 28.5244 rubles to the dollar and 48 deals worth $37.691 million were made.

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