BULGARIA RAISES KEY INTEREST RATE

BULGARIA RAISES KEY INTEREST RATE

The Bulgarian central bank raised its key central interest rate five points to 52 percent, a senior bank official said.

The raise follows a previous three-point hike a week ago.Mileti Mladenov, deputy governor, said the governing board had been guided by the same motives as for the previous raise - the state of the foreign exchange market and the economy.

"We hope this time it will affect the forex market; if not, we can take additional measures," Mr. Mladenov told Reuters.

He said the bank would continue to use other measures to control the market - intervention, hard currency refinancing and narrowing the banks' lev liquidity. The Bulgarian currency has plummeted about 2.5 levs against the

dollar over the past three weeks and was traded at 31.0 to the dollar just before the bank's decision on Monday morning.