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08/06/1998 06:45:34 Russia c.bank forex, gold reserves $18.4 bln Jul 31

MOSCOW, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank foreign exchange and gold

reserves were $18.4 billion on July 31, down from $19.2 billion on July 24, the

bank said in a statement on Thursday.

Dealers had previously said the central bank had been forced to sell foreign

currency over the past week.

Reserves were buttressed last month by the first $4.8 billion tranche of an

IMF credit package totalling $11.2 billion for this year.

Russia is due to receive a second IMF tranche in September, including $800

million held back from the first tranche because of delays in implementing

agreed measures, and the remainder later this year.

Russia has been forced to dig into its reserves in recent months to combat

heavy pressure on the rouble resulting from a crisis triggered by investor

concerns over the government's ability to meet its financial obligations.

((Moscow Newsroom, +7095 941-8520 moscow.newsroom@reuters.com))

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