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Central Bank Tested as Ruble Falls to Record Lows

Published: February 20, 2014 (Issue # 1798)



  • The ruble has been one of the fastest fallers amid 2014 emerging market currency declines.
    Photo: Andrei Makhonin / Vedomosti

The Russian ruble continued to slide Wednesday, reaching a historic minimum against the euro as its fall brought the central bank close to the point where it would be committed to unlimited interventions to prop up the currency.

The euro climbed to more than 49 rubles Wednesday, while the dollar rose to 35.76 rubles, its highest level against the ruble since March 2009, according to data from the Moscow Exchange.

Related: Why the Ruble Is Sinking

The value of the euro-dollar basket, the benchmark used by the central bank, reached 41.8 rubles in afternoon trading, close to the upper limit of the ruble corridor set by the regulator.

If the ruble strays outside of the corridor, the central bank has said it will conduct unlimited interventions to bring the currency back within its target range.

The ruble has been one of the fastest fallers amid 2014 emerging market currency declines. This year alone the Russian currency has lost over 6 percent of its value against the euro-dollar basket.

Related: Economist Advises Russians to Dump Ruble, Buy Hard Currency

Russian officials have denied that the authorities are deliberately allowing the ruble to weaken in order to raise export revenue and stimulate the countrys flagging economy.

Unlike central banks in other emerging markets, the Russian regulator has not raised rates in an attempt to stem the rubles slide.

In an apparent attempt to balance the dual challenges of stubbornly high inflation and stagnant economic growth, the central bank kept interest rates on hold following its policy meeting last week.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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