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Oil price fall hits Russian rouble

Oil price fall hits Russian rouble

The Russian currency has fallen in value in the wake of decreasing oil prices and the panic sweeping through global markets.

Setting its rate for August 25 at 70,74 roubles to the dollar, the Russian central bank saw its currency value at the weakest it has been since 1998.

Devaluation

Having recently been forced to sell $90bn in foreign reserves, the central bank is facing continued difficult in halting a currency decline.

The new low has come on the back of oil prices falling to a six year low. The main benchmark for Russian oil is Brent crude and that hit its lowest point since March 2009 this week when it fell to $44 a barrel.

Russia’s minister of economic development, Alexei Ukyukaev, predicted even further falls to below $40 a barrel, “if only for a short time.”

More reserve sales

The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev hinted at yet more sell offs of foreign currency reserves in order to shore up the currency.

Mr Medvedev said the government would, “help the central bank in the sense of additional foreign currency inflows."

He explained: "In the near future we will launch foreign currency sales by our largest exporters, which will affect the rouble's rates. So we, together with the central bank, will undertake a definite collection of agreed measures.”

Stock markets

With the UK economy seeing sharp FTSE 100 falls, Russia’s main stock exchanges have also been having a tough time.

Russia's RTS stock index fell by nearly 4.5% in one morning and the outlook remains bleak as GDP is expected to shrink by 3 - 4% by the end of 2015.


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