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Jul 22, 2013 04:09 PM IST | Source: CNBC

Russia Fin Min: Ruble devaluation 'not in our interest'

Russia`s finance minister told CNBC it was not in the country`s interest to devalue the ruble, although last month he argued that a weaker currency would help boost flagging economic growth.

Russia Fin Min: Ruble devaluation 'not in our interest'

Russia`s finance minister told CNBC it was not in the country`s interest to devalue the ruble, although last month he argued that a weaker currency would help boost flagging economic growth.


Speaking at the G-20 meeting of finance ministers in Moscow, Anton Siluanov said neither Russia`s finance ministry nor its central bank had plans to interfere with the currency.


"We have no aim to weaken or strengthen the ruble. We are coming from - and are in - the situation of having a balance of demand and supply on ruble liquidity," he said on Saturday.


"It`s not in our interest to have sharp fluctuations of the ruble. We are for the ruble to be fluctuating within the narrow corridors that have been created."


Siluanov said in June that he would welcome a weaker ruble to boost Russia`s weakening economy.



Russia`s economy grew by 1.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013 - its slowest since 2009. The government forecasts that gross domestic product will come in at 2.4 percent in 2013, a significant fall from 2012`s 3.4 percent.


Reforms?


Russia, one of the world`s largest energy exporters, has been urged to boost its economy by diversifying away from its heavy reliance on the energy sector.


Siluanov told CNBC these reforms would not be stalled by a recent rise in oil prices - which hit USD 108 per barrel last week.


"All oil and gas revenues will go into the reserve fund," he said. "That`s why the rise of revenues on account of market-determined prices, are not going to be reflected on spending increases. The rise of oil prices does not relax in our undertaking of the intended structural reforms."


The Kremlin has been heavily criticized by some in recent days for the sentencing of Alexei Navalny, a protest leader and one of President Vladimir Putin`s biggest critics. Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison, a move that was slammed by human rights activists, before being released on bail on Friday pending appeal.


But Siluanov said the international perception of Russia had not been damaged by the news.

"For the investors, the main thing is the economic policies of the government," he said. "The economic policies remain the same. There are some events that happen in the world, but I don`t think they can influence, on the whole, the investment climate in Russia."

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