The Russian inflation rate came to 5.3% in the first quarter of 2003. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced by Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia Sergei Ignatiev. He pointed out that the inflation rate for this period was a little lower than last year when it came to over 5.4%. He said 'the growth of gold and currency reserves inevitably increased the money supply which makes it difficult to restrict the level of inflation.' He added that over the first three and a half months of 2003 'the rouble has risen by 2.1% against the dollar whereas it has dropped by 1.3% against the euro.' Also, according to provisional reports, Mr Ignatiev said that GDP had risen by 6% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2003.
The main aim of the Central Bank this year, according to Mr Ignatiev, is to limit the level of inflation and prevent the rouble from rising too much in value in order to maintain the current level of economic growth. 'These two aims actually contradict each other. We must therefore try to find the best balance. We hope that the inflation rate will not rise above 15% this year and that the rouble will not rise by more than 6% in value,' he said.