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    Ruble-denominated oil exchanges could launch in 2007 - expert

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    Oil and petrochemical exchanges denominated in rubles could be launched in Russia as early as next year, the head of the presidential administration's expert department said Thursday.

    MOSCOW, May 11 (RIA Novosti) - Oil and petrochemical exchanges denominated in rubles could be launched in Russia as early as next year, the head of the presidential administration's expert department said Thursday.

    In his annual state of the nation address to parliament Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin said that a ruble-denominated oil and natural gas stock exchange should be set up in the country.

    "Next year, all [the exchanges] could start operating," Arkady Dvorkovich said Thursday.

    "The ruble must become a more widespread means of international transactions. To this end, we need to open a stock exchange in Russia to trade in oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for with rubles," Putin said Wednesday.

    A gas exchange would be set up after gas market liberalization, Dvorkovich said. He said proposals for metals, forest-products and fish exchanges would be developed.

    "Trade in rubles will create a demand for rubles. This will be a real step to achieve ruble convertibility," Dvorkovich said.

    In his Wednesday's address, Putin urged work on achieving ruble convertibility sped up and completed by July, six months ahead of the original January 1, 2007 deadline.

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