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Rubles Winning
January 26, 2007 11:58

“Within recent years the dollar’s prestige has dipped below its exchange rate”, affirm sociologists from the Public Opinion Fund. 1500 people living in 100 settlements of 44 regions of the country participated in the poll; the survey showed that the native ruble is 12.5 times more preferable than the American currency.

As long ago as 2002 every third respondent believed in the strong position the greenback occupied, but the number of dollar-worshippers reduced 7 times by December 2006. The ruble, at the same time, took the opposite path and doubled its admirers’ number: from 37 to 63%. This tendency is typical of both senior citizens, whose attitude to the dollar has always left a lot to be desired, and the youth, too. The vast majority of young Russians at the age of 18-35 stake on the ruble; only 8% of young respondents trust the American currency. No wonder, data provide by the Central Bank of Russia covered the disappointing situation common to all people, who have failed to get rid of dollar capital so far: the last year demonstrated the dollar’s fall in exchange of 9.6% against the ruble. Causes of such strengthening of the ruble are well-known, as the whole last year Russia was wallowing in petrodollars due to record prices on oil. Demand for rubles was growing, which resulted in their rate. It should be mentioned, that the Central Bank constantly observes the ruble’s rate against all currencies circulating in the countries-trading partners of the RF. The received data give basis for a particular index – the real effective ruble’s rate. In 2006 it increased by 7.6%.

Within the last few years exchange fluctuations have fallen away in public interest: from 42% of Russians in January 2004 to 32% nowadays. Moreover, the dollar’s great dive, which occurred during last several years, makes worried only every tenth person, 72% of respondents don’t care for it at all.

Sociologists explain such changes of public opinion in several ways. E.g. the most frequent answer to the question “why do you find dollar’s exchange fluctuations uninteresting?” was “I have never had dollars”. Indeed, despite the intensive dollar promotion into the Russian market in 1990s, only a third part of citizens could be called dollar owners, while other 66% claim that they have never in their life seen greenbacks. One of the answers is especially remarkable: “In our village no one has ever set eyes on dollars”. Another reason for dollar’s unpopularity is its forcing out by the ruble. Judging the survey the main slogan of the majority of the population nowadays is “More rubles we need”, since those, who have ever kept dollars, didn’t deal with the American currency during the last 2-3 years or did it rarer than before.

Russians no longer believe in prospective increase in the dollars rate: only 4% of respondents hope the dollar can at least partially regain its positions in 2007.

What is positive in native currency appreciation for Russia? First of all, it is forcing foreign currency out of internal money circulation: both citizens and real economy enterprises get rid of it. However ruble strengthening reveals disadvantages of the process, too. Primarily they concern home producers, whose expenses grow in comparison with those of competitors with the production part of business abroad. As for common people, they have already deduced an inference from constant ruble strengthening and prefer ruble deposits to other variants.

Olga Pletneva

Tags: Russian rouble Russian economy    

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