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Central Bank head on tasks for 2003 - 2 April, 2003

The strengthening of the ruble in the first two months of the year was zero percent, and in March, according to preliminary estimations, it was between 1 and 2 percent, Central Bank Chairman Sergey Ignatyev declared today at an international scientific conference devoted to the modernization of the Russian economy. According to him, the Central Bank believes that, despite the unfavorable conditions for conducting the monetary and credit policy (high world oil prices), in 2003 it will be possible to prevent the ruble's strengthening above 6 percent and decrease inflation to 12 percent. Ignatyev pointed out that the Central Bank had two main tasks for this year: to decrease the money supply and prevent the ruble's strengthening.