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Senior Russian lawmaker calls ruble slump panic ‘attempt to destabilize situation’

December 16, 2014, 16:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
It is important now to stop the panic, which is being artificially instigated and understand that the Central Bank has done everything possible using the instruments provided, says the lawmaker
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© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. A senior Russian lawmaker urged parliament members on Tuesday to make people confident in the banking system’s stability and said he saw no need to invite Central Bank Chief Elvira Nabiullina to parliament over the national currency slump.

“Nabiullina, the Central Bank, the government and very many people are now working on how to resolve the truly complex situation that has emerged in the economy,” Andrey Makarov, chairman of the budget and state committee in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, said Tuesday.

“But to invite Nabiullina here and make a circus around the exchange rate while clearly understanding that the Central Bank chairwoman simply cannot publicly talk about many things means in my opinion that this is a new profanation and an attempt to speculate on people’s fears,” the deputy said, characterizing Nabiullina as “a high-level professional.”

It is important now to stop the panic, which is being artificially instigated and understand that the Central Bank has done everything possible using the instruments provided to it, the lawmaker said.

It is also important to pay attention to the support of banks, including their re-capitalization because they keep citizens’ savings, he said.

The State Duma will consider a relevant bill in the first reading on Wednesday, he said.

“We should make people confident that nothing will happen to the banking system. This is because always the most frightening danger is when anxiety and panic push people to make runs on bank deposits. This is an attempt to destabilize the economic situation and consequently destabilize the political situation in the country,” Makarov said.

Some State Duma deputies came up with an imitative earlier on Tuesday to hear Central Bank chief Nabiullina and Finance Ministry officials over the regulator’s decision to hike the key rate and about the financial market situation.

Russia’s Central Bank sharply increased early on Tuesday its key rate to 17% from 10.5% amid rising devaluation expectations.

The US dollar briefly fell by almost six rubles to 54.5 and the euro by over 5 rubles to 73 amid the regulator’s decision but subsequently the domestic foreign currency market participants drove the ruble sharply down, which fell to 91 rubles to the euro and 74 rubles to the dollar by 2:30 p.m. Moscow time (11:30 GMT).

The dollar is currently trading at 72.80 and the euro at 90.90 rubles on the Moscow Exchange.

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