• ACI Russia

08/25/1998 14:57:00 Livshits says worst over for rouble-radio interview

BONN, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Alexander Livshits, a former close

economic advisor to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, said on

Tuesday that the worst was probably already over for the rouble

following last week's de facto currency devaluation.

"The worst of what could have happened to the rouble has

already happened," Livshits told Deutsche Welle radio's Russian

language news service.

Livshits, who was fired a week ago by Yeltsin but is in the

running to join the team of acting Prime Minister Viktor

Chernomyrdin, was speaking after the rouble plunged by 10

percent on Tuesday.

He said Moscow was still discussing a planned swap of GKO

treasury bills for longer-term debt instruments, and he said

foreign investors, which have bought around $15 billion worth of

GKOs, would not be worse treated than domestic investors.

He also told Deutsche Welle that the rouble devaluation had

not been motivated by a desire to boost exports.

"We don't have major industrial exports. They are mostly

commodities which are limited by the capacity of pipelines. On

the other hand, imports would become more expensive. The net

positive effect would be exactly zero," he said.

Livshits also said he was optimistic about talks with the

International Monetary Fund on the release of the next tranche

of a multi-billion dollar aid package.

Deutsche Welle released extracts of the Livshits interview

in a statement in German.

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