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08/12/1998 17:50:36 Russian c.bank says to limit forex purchases

MOSCOW, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank will impose

limits on purchases of foreign exchange by commercial banks from

Thursday and will take steps to prevent an interbank crisis from

spreading, a senior central bank official said on Wednesday.

"From tomorrow we are introducing limits on some banking

activities, in particular for buying foreign currency just for

their own needs as reserves," Sergei Aleksashenko told ORT public

television. "We are telling banks that what you have today is the

level which you do not have the right to exceed."

Aleksashenko, first deputy chairman of the central bank, said

market participants were trying to stock hard currency by cutting

their rouble reserves.

"We intend to take under strict control, every minute and

every hour, activities of the banks whose positions are causing

serious suspicions of instability," he added. "We intend to

prevent the interbank crisis from spreading further."

Aleksashenko told Reuters earlier that the interbank market

was suffering from a crisis of confidence and lack of liquidity

but he saw no threat to the entire banking system and the central

bank was trying to resolve the problems.

The bank has raised overnight credit limits for some banks to

boost rouble liquidity but it had reduced or closed

dollar-purchasing lines for some, he added.

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

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