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The ROL Exchange Rate Will Be Unpredictable
ECONOMICS - February 21st 2005Unpredictable: this is what the Romanian National Bank says of the Romanian leu (ROL) exchange rate, in order to avoid future speculations on the national currency.
By VALI BLANARU
Mugur Isarescu says that fluctuations of the exchange rate will be common place
The prices last week of the ROL against the EUR and the USD show a constant trend of appreciation for the Romanian leu. The euro started the week at 35,515 lei, went at 38,026 lei during the week, and ended it at 36,133 lei. By the same token, the dollar fared 27,385 lei, then 29,111 lei, and ended the week at 27,700 lei.
The National Bank already stated that it set no limit on the exchange rate, and aims only at keeping the inflation at under 7% and the bank coffers able to cover the cost for five months worth of imports.
The brief surge of the EUR and USD against the ROL was due to the National Bank intervention on the market on Tuesday and Wednesday, when it bought some 600 million euros.
But when the National Bank intervention ceased, the trend for the ROL appreciation picked up again, from where it left two days before.
Mugur Stet, National Bank spokesman, said that so far the aims of the bank were reached with the Tuesday and Wednesday intervention on the market. "Consequently we made our own assessment of the amount of money traded on the market, its make and what taking 600 million euros out of the market entails," said Stet.
"For the following period one can expect the National Bank to play on the market at any level of the exchange rate. I clearly state it: there is no specific level of the exchange rate we feel compelled to defend," said Mugur Isarescu, the Governor of the National Bank.
Business people engaged in export and import operations were the worst hit of the exchange rate fluctuations.
A press release of the bank said that "the Board of Administration of the National Bank of Romania will decide in its Thursday session, of 24 February, on allowing companies to freely buy hard currency, with no strings attached." Until now, Romanian companies could buy hard currency only if stating the exact purpose they will use it for. This measure was deemed by the Association of Business People from Romania to infringe upon the free movement of capital.
The businessmen also argued that "the high volatility of the exchange rate drastically damaged the work of the Romania companies and may take them out of the market."
The exchange rate leu - euro and leu - dolar in February
Translated By ANCA PADURARU