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Yesterday the Central Bank of Russia reported on its international reserves as of the end of last week
They reached a new record high of $105.2 billion, a $5.1 billion increase from the week before. This was the ninth consecutive week of accelerated growth of Russia's international reserves. In that time, they increased by almost $17 billion. Moreover, the weekly growth was the highest since July 1998, when reserves rose $5.6 billion to $19.2 billion. However, at that time, the growth was because of a loan from the IMF, which unsuccessfully tried to help the Central Bank rescue the ruble from devaluation, Kommersant reported. Although the Central Bank has said that it intends to concentrate on measures to curb inflation rather than ruble growth (and even lowered the exchange rate of the dollar to 28.76 rubles), economists expect a further increase in Russia's international reserves. "This week, the Central Bank purchased dollars again to keep the currency from a more profound plunge," head of the financial market department at MDM bank Viktor Zhidkov said. Alexei Vorobyov, an economist at Aton investment company, said, "the increase of international reserves will continue because of high world oil prices." He estimated that net capital outflow from Russia will amount to $15 billion by the end of the year, but this factor will not affect the growth of international reserves. Senior economist at Uralsib, Vladimir Tikhomirov, said Russia's international reserves would continue to grow, but at a slower rate than today. "Exporters will pay more taxes to replenish the stabilization fund," he said, "the resources that are intended to be invested in foreign currency or securities of first-class issuers. Therefore, the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank will create demand for foreign currency and the situation on the currency market could change in 2-4 weeks."
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