| MOSCOW, January 16. 'The rouble’s appreciation against
the US dollar is not happening by chance. It is the result of a mid-term
trend in the Russian economy,' said State Duma Deputy and economist Mikhail
Zadornov at a press conference yesterday. He added that several other
countries in Eastern Europe had experienced similar strengthening of their
national currencies including Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. 'The
rouble’s appreciation is by no means over. The rouble in the short
and middle term will appreciate another 10-15% on the US dollar. It is
an absolutely natural process,' he said.
Zadornov said the rouble appreciated 17% against the US dollar in 2003
and 5% against a standard basket of foreign currencies, including the
euro, yen and a number of others. He also said that the rouble had appreciated
another 3% against the US dollar in the first half of January.