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Russia is paying off...
The Russian Finance Ministry has made its first payment of the year to the International Monetary Fund - $62.053 million or 41.667 million SDR, a source in the ministry told Interfax. The payment was made right on schedule. Russia is scheduled to make four payments in January. In addition to today's payment, there will be a payment of $82.6 million or 56.03 million SDR on January 21, $11.8 million or 8 million SDR on January 22 and $86.9 million or 58.9 million SDR on January 29. Russia will pay a total of $1.7 billion, or 1.181 billion SDR, to the IMF in 2004, compared with about $2 billion - 1.211 billion SDR - in 2003. The Russian Finance Ministry estimates that Russia's debt to the IMF fell from $6.5 billion to about $5 billion in 2003. Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said earlier that the Russian Finance Ministry may pay off its debt to the IMF ahead of schedule - by 2006, instead of 2008 as scheduled. Although the early payment will only make a small saving on interest - about $100 million, in the political sense it will be a "good symbolic gesture," he said.
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