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    INFLATION CAN BE CURBED

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    MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - Arkady Dvorkovich, the head of the expert department of the Russian president, deems it difficult but possible to keep the average annual inflation rate within 8.5%.

    "A figure exceeding 8.5% is quite possible but not inevitable," Mr. Dvorkovich told reporters.

    According to him, inflation can be retained within the indices projected by the government.

    To this end, Mr. Dvorkovich said, the average monthly inflation rate should not exceed 0.5-0.6%. According to him, the basic inflation in February totaled 0.8% (while in January it topped 3.8%).

    He stressed that monetary methods alone cannot curb inflation. "It also depends on the simple demand for money and on whether the economy is ready to absorb more money," said Mr. Dvorkovich.

    Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref, in turn, said that his ministry would not yet review the inflation forecast for this year.

    "We will not review the forecast yet," said the minister. "There is a chance to remain within the projected indicator (8.5%)."

    "We will try to prevent price growth for petrol and meat," added Mr. Gref.

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