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Central Bank stops supporting dollar

      RBC, 22.10.2004, Moscow 12:31:44.The weighted average dollar exchange rate was 29 RUR/USD in the first 90 minutes of trade at a special session today. Thus, the official dollar rate for October 23-25 will decrease by RUR0.12. This is the most considerable one-day drop of the dollar against the ruble since late April. The low on the deals was even 28.95 RUR/USD at the UTS.

      According to commercial bank dealers, the Central Bank has not supported the dollar despite a large selling of dollars by market participants.

      Banks sold over $436m at a special session at 11:30 a.m. Moscow time. Yesterday, the trade volume was just $19m at the UTS at the same time. The average lot of dollars to be sold was $1.7m in the first 90 minutes of trading.

      A Bank of Moscow expert told RBC TV that the trade volume on MICEX including a special session for today deals almost reached $1bn in the first 30 minutes of trading. The expert said that the Central Bank's activities could be attributed to the dollar's decrease on international exchanges and growth in the gold and currency reserves in Russia. However, the Central Bank's leaving the market at the end of the week was quite unexpected. The specialist thinks that the Central Bank is currently concerned about its obligations on preventing inflation.

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