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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MinFin: Low Prices Caused Export Halt

The Finance Ministry on Thursday downplayed the suspension of the country's precious metals exports, saying the real reason for a break in the flow of shipments was weak world prices.

"It looks like a storm in a glass of water," said Valery Rudakov, deputy finance minister and the head of the state precious metals reserve, Gokhran.

"I know no exporter who has come to customs asking for clearance and has been refused. Maybe they are not exporting because the prices are low."

Various officials said Tuesday that Russia had suspended precious metals exports from last Saturday due to the absence of a mechanism for their control.

A presidential decree on the rules for the import and export of precious metals and gems became effective Aug. 25, although a system of control was not prepared in time, a source said.

Rudakov agreed that there were problems in organizing exports, but these could be easily solved.

"Yes, there are some technical issues that have not been coordinated between several institutions. But it is just something to be worked out," Rudakov said.

The State Customs Committee said Tuesday it was ready to clear metals for export only after it received necessary papers from the State Assay Chamber, part of the Finance Ministry.

"Under the new decree, exporters have to present their metal to the Assay Chamber and the chamber has to issue a certificate of state inspection, which they have to present to customs officials," Rudakov said.