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Russian Inflation Jumps

August 4, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian consumer prices jumped 2.8 percent in June, up from a 1.9 percent rise the month before, the Russian Statistics Agency said Wednesday.

Inflation remains relatively high, but the government has been able to bring it down somewhat following a surge in prices that accompanied last year’s financial crisis.

During the first seven months of 1998, Russian inflation was 4 percent. But prices shot up after the government devalued the ruble and defaulted on debts that August, and inflation for all of 1998 ended up being 84 percent.

Inflation was 28 percent for the first seven months of this year, the government statistics agency said.

In other economic news, the Russian government benefited from better-than-expected tax and customs collection in July.

The Tax Ministry collected $1.2 billion in July, 31 percent higher than targeted. Customs officials collected $829 million in July, just above predictions. No reasons were given for the better-than-expected revenues.

Meanwhile, Russia’s draft federal budget for 2000 will be ready for review Aug. 12, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko told the Interfax news agency. The draft calls for a budget surplus and tax revenues of $27 billion.

The draft budget foresees an average exchange rate of 32 rubles to the U.S. dollar in 2000. The ruble is currently trading at about 24 to the dollar.

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