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Bank May Buy Gold From State

The Central Bank does not exclude further rate cuts before the end of 2009 and may buy gold from the state repository, Gokhran, First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said Monday.

“We will buy [gold] only if conditions are adequate,” Ulyukayev said. Last month, media reported that the government planned to sell 25 tons of gold, possibly on the local market, from the repository.

Ulyukayev said the regulator may further cut its benchmark lending rates this year. The Central Bank has administered eight cuts this year, bringing its benchmark refinancing rate to annualized 9.5 percent. Easing inflationary pressures have been the main factor allowing the regulator to facilitate its monetary policy and provide a stimulus for domestic lending.

Separately, Ulyukayev said the Central Bank has bought more than $1 billion in November on the foreign exchange market to cap the appreciation of the ruble. The vast majority of the purchases came on Monday amid increased interest from investors in the ruble, pressuring it to firm further.

Early Monday, the Central Bank shifted its intervention bid level to 35.25 rubles per euro/dollar basket, used for guiding the ruble’s exchange rate policy, from the previous 35.30, after buying as much as $700 million on the forex market, dealers said.

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