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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stabilize Ruble, Say Officials

Senior government officials Thursday called for greater stability in the ruble exchange rate, as the Russian currency lost value for the second straight day after a string of rises.

"That the dollar is being forced out of the Russian economy is a good thing, but it is extremely important to control the pace of this process," Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said, addressing an expanded government session.

"The government and the Bank of Russia have enough levers to prevent sharp fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate," the prime minister added, in a signal to the financial markets that dollar and gold reserves could be used to stabilize the currency.

The ruble fell 28 points to 4,590 to the dollar in Thursday's trading on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange. It had lost 16 points Wednesday, one day after reaching a four-month high of 4,546.

"There may have been some excessive movement just because some banks speculated on what would happen," said Dirk Willer, an economist at the Center for Economic Performance. "That's not dangerous," he added.

Alexander Livshits, the top presidential economic adviser, also said Thursday that the government and the Central Bank should curb wide fluctuations in the ruble.

"The most unpleasant thing about what is happening is not that the dollar is falling or rising, but that this process is taking place with rather big jumps," Livshits told a news conference.

(MT, Reuters)