Russian ruble slides to record low in Moscow trading
Jan. 20, 2016
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian ruble slid to a record low against the dollar Wednesday under pressure from the low oil price.
The ruble traded above 81.8 to the dollar in Moscow on Wednesday evening, down by around four percent. That beat the mark of 80.1 set when the currency crashed in value in December 2014 before stabilizing.
Russia's economy and government revenues are suffering due to the country's dependence on oil, which has traded at 12-year lows in recent weeks because of a supply glut and the return of Iran to world markets.
The ruble had come close to 80 on Monday but recovered ground Tuesday after Chinese growth data met expectations.
The IMF predicted Tuesday that Russia's economy will contract 1 percent in 2016 after a fall of 3.7 percent last year before returning to 1 percent growth next year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not comment on the ruble's fall during a televised discussion with business leaders, although he said that Russia's economic foundations are "fairly solid, despite all the external risks and difficulties."
The Russian Central Bank came in for criticism from Sergei Glazyev, an economist and aide to Putin. He said the bank's refusal to support the ruble "causes surprise and laughter around the world," the Tass news agency reported. However, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to play down Glazyev's remarks in a Wednesday conference call, saying that Putin does not take sides in economic disputes among senior officials.
The ruble has lost more than half of its value against the dollar over the last two years, during which time Russia's economy has been buffeted by oil price falls and international sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.
The low oil price has also put pressure on other post-Soviet economies, particularly oil producers. The Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, which relies heavily on oil, saw its tenge currency slip nearly 1 percent on Wednesday to 374.60, close to Monday's record low. Kazakhstan's KASE index closed down 2.4 percent.