Russia is to devalue the ruble by nearly 10 percent, President Yeltsin’s economic adviser Aleksandr Livshits announced today. The change will take effect July 1, when the present ruble corridor is due to expire. The announcement resolves weeks of debate over whether to retain the corridor in its present form. Under the new arrangement, the ruble will be allowed to float within a range of 5,000 to 5,600 to $1, instead of the present range of 4,550 to 5,150. The change is necessitated by the fact that, with inflation currently running at about 2 percent a month, the ruble is fast approaching the lowest level permitted within the present corridor. The measure is said to have the IMF’s seal of approval and is being seen as a sign that the Yeltsin leadership remains committed to controlling inflation. It will be a disappointment to the Russian industrial lobby, which would have preferred a sharper devaluation to make Russian goods more attractive on world markets and which might, in the midst of an election campaign, have expected a more conciliatory move from the Yeltsin team. (BBC World Service, May 16)
Yeltsin to Publish His Election Program May 20.