Experts on Currency Reserves

The Russian Central Bank has reported that the volume of Russia's gold and currency reserves amounted to $59.9bn as of May 2, 2003, compared to $58.3bn on April 25, 2003. So, the reserves added $1.66bn.

The Russian Central Bank spends a lot of rubles to support the dollar rate above RUR31 per dollar, analysts say. At the same time export currency revenues are not decreasing. According to the Russian Economy Ministry, about 47 percent of oil produced in Russia is exported and the oil production is growing. As a result of dollar purchases the monetary base in the country is advancing. According to the external and public relations department of the Central Bank, the monetary base amounted to 1.011 trillion rubles ($32.5bn) as of May 5, 2003, compared to 988.9bn rubles ($31.8bn) on April 28, 2003.

The monetary base has been growing since the beginning of the year simultaneously with gold and currency reserves. However, besides some positive factors, this tendency has some drawbacks, analysts believe. The advance in the monetary base promotes inflation; that is why a 12 percent inflation rate planned by the government for this year might not be achieved. At the same time, liquidity grows in Russia and this leads to high share and bond prices, while credit costs are constantly dropping.

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