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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bankers in Ruble Rate Spat

Senior central bankers gave contradictory views on successive days on future ruble exchange rate movements, making public an internal policy debate in one of the country's most secretive institutions.

Konstantin Korishchenko, deputy head of the Central Bank responsible for currency policies, told a conference the ruble was set to appreciate because available Russian assets were scarce while the balance of payments was strong.

"The primary source of the ruble strengthening is the strong balance of payments on the current account," Korishchenko said Wednesday.

"There are no grounds to believe that the dynamics of Russia's balance of payments will change," he added, shrugging off concerns that falling oil prices may weaken the current account surplus.

Korishchenko's remarks contradicted comments on Tuesday by his colleague, First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev, who said appreciation pressures had eased of late. Ulyukayev oversees monetary and fiscal policies at the Central Bank.

Ulyukayev said the Central Bank was buying hard currency for the stabilization fund, which gathers windfall oil revenues, while selling to balance out flows on the foreign exchange market.

"This rather contradictory situation is totally new for us and we will have to get used to it," he said. "From the point of view of monetary policy, it means there is much less chance of our national currency appreciating."