SOVIETS TO AUCTION CURRENCY

The Soviet Union is clearing up final problems for an auction of foreign exchange, the first step to making the ruble convertible, a top Soviet banker said in an interview last week. ``We would like it in May,'' Juri Moskovsky, chairman of the board of the Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs (Vneshekonombank), told the Communist Party daily Pravda.

The auction, intended to distribute foreign exchange more evenly among Soviet enterprises, will for the first time set a market rate for the ruble, which economists say is grossly overvalued at its current official rate of about $1.60.

Full convertibility - which would make the ruble freely exchangeable with Western currencies - is necessary if the Soviet economy is to be fully integrated on world markets, economists say.

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