The weighted-average exchange rate decreased by RUR0.03 to the level of RUR31.81 per dollar during today's morning trading session at the currency exchange. The official dollar rate was at about the same level as long ago as November 13, 2002, which was two months ago.
Substantial strengthening of the ruble took place amid a drastic rise in foreign currency sales by commercial banks at the Unified Trading Session. Banking experts remarked on this fact in an interview with RBC. They voiced the opinion that banks had substantially increased the amount of dollar sales due to payments to the budget to be made in rubles soon. Experts view some deficit of rubles on the market as another reason for the large trade volume of $400m, achieved at the special trading session on January 15. In their opinion, rubles that banks are receiving for sold foreign currency are supposed to improve ruble liquidity.