MOSCOW, April 26 Russia's central bank chief
said on Saturday that, barring external shocks, the rouble
exchange rate should be stable and could even strengthen, a
Russian news agency reported.
"If there are no additional external shocks, we think the
rouble exchange rate will be quite stable and may even begin to
strengthen," RIA news agency quoted Governor Elvira Nabiullina
as telling REN TV.
She said that as long as fluctuations in the rouble did not
threaten financial stability, the central bank would leave it to
the market to set the rate.
"But if threats to financial stability arise, of course (the
central bank) will get involved," Nabiullina was quoted as
saying in the eastern city of Khabarovsk.
The central bank surprised markets on Friday by raising its
key interest rate by 50 basis points to 7.5 percent because of
increased inflation risks fuelled by a weakening rouble.
The rouble has fallen some 9 percent against
the dollar this year, with the fall exacerbated by investors
withdrawing funds from Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
It weakened 0.72 percent to 36.03 to the dollar on Friday.
Hours before the central bank decision, Standard & Poor's cut
Russia's credit rating and warned further cuts could follow if
tougher sanctions were imposed on the country and the outflow of
funds was not stemmed.
(Reporting by Nigel Stephenson; Editing by Mark Potter)