• ACI Russia

08/26/1998 07:37:37 Rouble down in Russian provinces, people seek dlrs

MOSCOW, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The rouble fell further against

the dollar on Wednesday in most Russian cities and people were

queueing to buy safe-haven dollars where banks had them despite

the high price, bankers said.

"We are only selling those dollars that people sold to us.

There is no other cash," said a cashier in the Omskpromstroibank

in the Siberian city of Omsk.

The roubles could be sold at 8.41 per dollar and bought at

7.86 before the rouble fell more than five percent on the

country's main currency exchange from Tuesday's fix of 7.86 per

dollar and trading was halted. The cashier said the rate would

change after the new MICEX fix accordingly.

"People are also withdrawing en masse their rouble and

dollar savings from banks," she added.

In the Far East port city of Vladivostok the dollar stood at

between 7.8 and 9.15 roubles. Bankers there complained big banks

in Moscow had delayed payments to them and the Moscow banks

preferred to buy dollars instead.

There were few dollars available in Vladivsotok and most

credit card withdrawals had been halted.

Russian television said the dollar cost as much as 9.5

roubles in some far-away towns, at the level of the upper band

of a rouble corridor set by the central bank for this year.

The rouble was at around six to the dollar only two weeks

ago, before the central bank announced a de facto devaluation by

raising the upper band of the corridor.

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