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Russian top bank CEO says rouble exchange rate unlikely to drop

September 27, 2011, 12:00 UTC+3

Gref is taking part in the 6th Russian-Singaporean business forum (RSBF), which ends here on Tuesday

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SINGAPORE, September 27 (Itar-Tass) —— The exchange rate of Russia’s national currency unit, the rouble, is highly unlikely to downswing, German Gref, CEO from one of Russia’s biggest banks, Sberbank, said on Tuesday.

Gref is taking part in the 6th Russian-Singaporean business forum (RSBF), which ends here on Tuesday.

On September 27, the Central Bank of Russia fixed the rouble exchange rate at 32.46 roubles per one U.S. dollar, and 43.45 roubles per one euro. About the same exchange rate, according to Gref, is likely to be preserved in the next few weeks. “The exchange rate is currently at about 32 roubles, and I don’t expect it to go sharply down,” he said.

The rouble exchange rate might go down to follow a drop in global oil prices, he said and added that even if global oil prices actually go down, this downslide will not be for long. “It is quite obvious that in the long-term perspective oil may not be very cheap,” he said. “The balance of payments will be fixed up along with the rouble exchange rate.”

Sberbank CEO stressed he had faith in the Russian national currency. “I am quite comfortable with the rouble, I am not rushing to exchange anything, I am very tolerant to the rouble rate fluctuations,” he said.

In his words, currently no considerable sums are being withdrawn from rouble deposits. “Those who changed their deposit currencies in the period of the previous crisis, have, as a matter of fact, lost twice. Today, the situation is stable enough and the Central Bank of Russia has reserves enough to keep it under control,” Gref said.

He also spoke about the debt crisis in Europe. In his words, if European financial authorities take no urgent measures, both the global and Russian economies might come to face a 2008 recession scenario again. “It is inadmissible to procrastinate the solution to this problem. It is critically important that Europe takes any decision and spells it distinctly. If the situation stays as it is, we will have to go through the 2008 scenario in terms of consequences,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, he said that the present-day Russia is more prepared to face a possible financial and economic crisis than it was back in 2008, but Europe’s debt crisis is already having an impact on the Russian economy. “Already now the loan prices are much higher, and markets are gradually closing. In case of a crisis we will have the whole bunch: more expensive loans, more difficult access to liquidity, smaller investments,” Sberbank CEO said and added that he hoped this time “the situation will not be as difficult as it was in 2008.”

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