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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fyodorov Confident Ruble Will Stay Stable

Finance Minister Boris Fyodorov offered to bet 50, 000 rubles ($48) on the stability of the ruble as it continued to strengthen against the dollar Monday.

Fydorov told Interfax he was "ready to bet everyone 50, 000 rubles that the current ruble rate to the dollar would remain until Sept. 1 of this year", Interfax reported.

The ruble edged up to 1, 039 rubles to the dollar from 1, 045 in trading Monday at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, up nearly 7 percent since it hit a low of 1, 116 on June 15.

In an active session, $88. 66 million changed hands, close to supply but far more than initial demand of $62. 5 million.

Fyodorov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said he aimed to continue a common policy of the Central Bank and the government, agreed upon in May, to cut credits, cut the budget deficit and raise interest rates.

This could reduce inflation and thus lower demand for hard currency, but bankers have attributed the recent rise to trading restrictions and tax payments that have recently become due, increasing the demand for rubles which at other times would be used for purchasing dollars.

But another deputy prime minister, Yury Yarov, warned Monday that more than one-third of Russians cannot afford to buy the goods they need to survive and the country must take urgent action to raise minimum wages and pensions, according to Reuters.

Interfax quoted Yarov, responsible for regional policy, as saying proposed increases to wage and pension levels would cost Russia 335 billion rubles a month.

Additional salary rises for the military and healthcare workers would bring this to 435 billion rubles ($419 million).

Russia's minimum wage was 4, 250 rubles ($4. 09) in May but Yarov said it should be raised to 7, 000 rubles ($6. 37), backdated to July 1.

In future wages and pensions should be indexed to inflation, he added.