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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 country’s flagging economy.

Unlike central banks in other emerging markets, the Russian regulator has not raised rates in an attempt to stem the ruble’s 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

Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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