During 1998, the RF Central Bank gold andforeign exchange reserves decreased by a total of approximately $5.5 billion(from $17.784 billion to $12.223 billion, that is, by 31.3 per cent). The shareof gold in the reserves rose from 27.5 per cent to 36.2 per cent.
Data on the dynamics of monetary aggregatesin 1998 (see Table 1.12) demonstrate that by and large, base money rose by 26per cent (28.5 per cent from 1 August). In that year, the money stockM2 increased by 21.0 percent (25.7 per cent from 1 August), and the amount of broad money (includingdollar deposits), by 36.3 per cent (43.9 per cent from August 1). The amount ofcurrency in circulation went up by 44.0 per cent (45.2 per cent from 1 August).This means that the share of cash in M2 rose from 34.86 per cent to 41.5 per cent. The withdrawal of bankdeposits and the stricter rationing of loans owing to the overall crisis of thebanking system caused the money multiplier to drop from 2.4 in January to 2.02in October. In November-December it rose to 2.18. Overall, throughout the year,real money supply M2diminished 34.4 per cent. At the same time, as the GDP deflator lagged behindthe growth rate of consumer prices and the rate of decline in real GDP, themonetization of the economy increased from 14.4 per cent (in 1997) to 16.85 percent.
In January-February 1999, consumerprices’ growth ratesgradually slowed down (see Fig. 1.7). In January, inflation was 8.5 per cent(166 per cent p.a.) and in February, 4.1 per cent (62 per cent p.a.). Thismeans that the CPI growth rate was the lowest since August 1998.
In February 1999, the RF Central Bank goldand foreign exchange reserves continued to decline (see Fig. 1.9 and Table1.11). Since no planned payments on the Russian Federation's foreign debts weremade during that period, the Central Bank most probably intervened on theforeign currency market with a view to stabilizing the ruble exchange rate. ByFebruary 12, the gold and foreign exchange reserves dropped to $11.3 billionbut rose by $200 million by the end of the month.
The monetary policy pursued by the RFCentral Bank in January and February 1999 was restrained enough (see Fig. 1.8and Table 1.11). Overall, during January base money decreased by 6.2 billion (3per cent) from the end of December 1998. In the first half of February 1999, atrend towards higher money supply appeared. Although by 15 February, the volumeof base money practically reached the previous maximum value, by the end of themonth it declined to Rb205.2 billion; nevertheless, the monthly growth was 2.04per cent. With account of the Central Bank's sale of foreign exchange, grosscurrency issue in January was about Rb7 billion16 and in February, about Rb6.4billion.
Panic buying of foreign exchange betweenlate August and October 1998 caused sharp fluctuations in the US dollarexchange rate (see Fig. 1.16).
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