MOSCOW (AP) _ Inflation in Russia will be slightly over 40 percent by the end of the year, higher than the 30 percent previously projected by the government, Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Friday.

Reporting to a parliamentary committee on the 2000 budget, Kasyanov said the government had the situation under control, the Interfax news agency reported.

Next year, he said, the rate of inflation was expected to be around 18 percent to 20 percent. The Ministry of Finance was confident that the government would be able to keep it at that level, he said, according to Interfax.

Russia's economy has been showing signs of at least superficial improvement since the ruble plunged last August. Although no major economic reforms have been implemented since then, the economy has been boosted by high world oil prices and increased domestic production.

Kasyanov said that next year, the government will have enough money to begin gradually repaying loans received from the Central Bank this year to pay off state debts.

Keeping a lid on inflation is one of the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund for loans to Russia.