MOSCOW — The top trade official in the Soviet government today denied that the ruble will be devalued by 50% in 1990, as has been widely assumed in the West from Soviet media reports in the last two weeks.
The newspaper articles, starting with one in Sovietskaya Industria, or Soviet Industry, had said the ruble exchange rate would fall by 50% "on trade deals" starting Jan. 1, 1990. Western economists and businessmen assumed this meant a drop from the government-decreed exchange rate of $1.60 per ruble to 80 cents per ruble.
That, however, applies only to the ruble's value in domestic deals among Soviet enterprises, not to its value in trade with foreigners, Vladimir Kamentsev, deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers and head of the State Foreign Economic Commission, said at a press briefing.
"This should not be taken as a change in the ruble standard versus foreign currency," Kamentsev said.