According to the forecasts of the Central Bank, Russia's gold and foreign currency reserves will grow to $55bn by the end of 2003, Oleg Vyugin, the Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank, told journalists today. He pointed out that this forecast did not take into account the current world oil prices that are about $30 per barrel. At the same time the Central Bank believes that these prices will not stay on this level for a long time. Vyugin noted that the dynamics of the growth in the volume of gold and currency reserves was high.
Commenting on possible fluctuations in the dollar rate due to a possible military operation against Iraq, Vyugin said that in this event "dollar will start weakening and then the rate will depend on the duration of the war. If the war is quick, the dollar will regain its positions but not for a long time".