Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a press conference held with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (not in the picture) after their meeting in Budapest, Hungary, on Feb. 2, 2017. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)
MOSCOW, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The recent strengthening of Russia's ruble against the U.S. dollar is expected to be short-lived, Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said Friday.
"We expect the ruble to be generally weaker in the near future before a final stabilization," Oreshkin was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.
One U.S. dollar was traded at slightly above 58 rubles at the Moscow Exchange on Friday afternoon, the lowest level since mid-2015. The greenback has lost some four rubles since the end of January.
The appreciation of the Russian currency was not caused by the improving economic fundamentals, said Oreshkin following a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on economic issues.
The minister said the ruble surge was a result of the capital inflows from privatization deals and the seasonal factor -- Russia traditionally imports less goods in the first quarter of each year.
The government is monitoring the situation and ready to react adequately in case of abrupt changes, Oreshkin added.
"The good news is that the inflation is declining as expected," said the minister.
Russia's inflation eased to 4.72 percent as of Feb. 13, a little higher than the 4 percent target set for the whole year of 2017.
The inflation number hit a record low of 5.4 percent last year, after a peak of 12.9 percent in 2015.