MOSCOW, January 8, 2004. /RIA Novosti/ -- At Thursday's unified trading session (by the results of which the Central Bank of Russia sets its official exchange rate) the US dollar dropped by 11 kopecks for tomorrow settlements on Tuesday's close to 29.135 roubles as of 11:30 Moscow time. Last time the foreign exchange rate's low level was registered in June 2001.

During the unified trading session the price of the US dollar dropped without the participation of the Central Bank.

On Tuesday the Central Bank carried out large-scale rouble intervention to purchase over $800 billion from dealers. Therefore, the Central Bank's absence at today's trading session was quite logical and currency sellers significantly intensified their activity.

As dealers say, the Central Bank is abandoning the level of 29.245 roubles to the US dollar (at which it purchased US dollars from forex market participants).

"The new level of support for the US currency will be within the range of 29.12-29.13 roubles to the US dollar until January 12 or, perhaps, 15," believes manager of the treasury department of Stroikredit bank Vadim Adlerberg. "The Central Bank will keep this level of support." But consequently, this level will also be abandoned.

Banks continue to demonstrate strong liquidity performance: balances on the correspondent accounts of banks with the Central Bank are large - 261 billion roubles and the reduction of their amount by 21 billion roubles is insignificant; banks' deposits with the Central Bank equaled 162.7 billion roubles - an increase of 40.4 billion roubles.

The decrease of the country's gold and foreign currency reserves by $0.7 billion to $77.1 billion is short-lived and was prompted by the Central Bank's foreign exchange interventions in the last sessions prior to the New Year, experts say.

As Adlerberg noted today, the market continues to observe the pressure on the rouble's further appreciation and the US dollar's further drop, which can be explained by the high prices of oil, the rising euro and considerable amounts of foreign currency proceeds coming to the forex market.

Therefore, the depreciation of the US currency in relation to the rouble will persist and the level of 29 roubles to the US dollar is quite real in the short-term perspective, dealers say.

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