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Russia"s gold and currency reserves soar
Russia’s gold and currency reserves gained $2.7bn over the past week. According to the Central Bank’s department for external and public relations, Russia’s gold and currency reserves were $74.5bn as of December 19 against $71.8bn as of December 12, 2003. This advance in the reserves in a week’s time was the most significant since May 23, 2003, which was about seven months ago. A rise in the Central Bank’s reserves is observed for the sixth week in a row, starting on November 7, 2003 gaining $9.8bn over this time, including almost $4bn over the past two weeks. This rapid rise in the gold and currency reserves contradicts an earlier statement from Oleg Vyugin, the Senior Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank. Only several days ago he forecasted a slowdown in the rise of the gold and currency reserves. According to his prediction, Russia’s gold and currency reserves will not to surpass $72bn by the end of 2003. When Vyugin voiced this forecast, the volume of gold and currency reserves was only $200m lower than $72bn. Currently, the reserves surpass the forecasted figure by $2.5bn. It seems that up to the middle of December, the Central Bank did not expect it would have to buy up more dollars than planned to prevent a sharp strengthening in the ruble rate.
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