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Bulgaria: Currency Strengthens Dramatically

Sofia, 5 March 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgarian's currency, the lev, strengthed against the U.S. dollar yesterday less than three weeks after an anti-communist caretaker cabinet took control.

Our correspondent in Sofia quotes caretaker Finance Minister Svetoslav Gavriisky as saying that the current level of about 1,500 leva per dollar is "realistic for the moment." The dollar had cost as much as 3,000 leva on February 19 when the caretaker cabinet took power.

But our correspondent says many Bulgarians see the trend as a temporary expression of political confidence, and that general distrust of the lev continues.

Despite the strengthening of the lev, prices for basics like bread have continued to rise in Sofia.