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MOSCOW, April 5 (Reuters) - Russia's finance ministry said on Wednesday it would step up its daily foreign exchange purchases to 3.5 billion roubles ($62.57 million) over the coming month.
It said in a statement that it would purchase a total of 69.9 billion roubles in the April 7 to May 5 period.
That is up slightly from the daily purchase volume of 3.2 billion roubles in the month to April 6, but well below the average 4.2 billion roubles predicted by analysts polled by Reuters.
The finance ministry started buying foreign currency in February, saying the purchases are aimed at shielding Russia from external shocks. Critics, however, say they are an attempt to stop the rouble from strengthening too much. ($1 = 55.9401 roubles) (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Sujata Rao; editing by Maria Kiselyova)