The weighted average dollar exchange rate on tomorrow deals amounted to 30.32 RUR/USD at today's special session. This will be the official dollar rate for June 23. It means that the ruble has strengthened by RUR0.06 against the dollar today and by RUR0.19 over this week. On the whole, the national currency has strengthened by RUR1.56 against US currency since the beginning of this year, which is more than 5 percent. As a result, the current dollar rate is equal to the rate registered at the end of 2001.
Earlier, this considerable drop in the dollar rate could be attributed to the desire of authorities of the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry to take into account the development of the situation on world markets where the dollar was weakening against the Euro since the beginning of 2003. However, this situation has changed. Specialists point to the process of the dollar strengthening against the Euro, which started a few days ago, and they believe that this tendency will last pretty long.
It seems that Russian Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin shares this point of view. In an interview on the Echo of Moscow radio station yesterday he said that the dollar and Euro rates would not differ considerably in the near future. He stressed that "fundamental parameters of the US and European economies do not change so considerably to result in such changes in the ratio of their currencies". In this respect, the minister urged people not to hurry to transfer their savings in dollars to Euros or other currencies because "the dollar is the dollar even in Africa".
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building