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Ruble and Stocks Tumble on Ukraine Turmoil

Published: March 4, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • The ruble bottomed out at 37 per dollar on Monday morning before rebounding slightly. Tuesday’s rate is 36.38.
    Photo: For SPT

The ruble and equity market plummeted Monday morning following escalation in the Crimean crisis over the weekend, as rattled investors withdrew their capital en masse and latched onto the most ironclad assets they could find.

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday received authorization from the Federation Council to move Russian military forces into Ukraine "until the situation in the country is normalized," sparking fears of outright war and threats of economic sanctions from the West.

Related: Central Bank Tested as Ruble Falls to Record Lows

The ruble-denominated MICEX index lost $58.4 billion in market capitalization since the end of trading Friday, the worst sell-off since the crisis of 2008, Reuters reported.

The ruble fell to historically low levels in the morning, trading at 37 to the dollar and 50.7 to the euro and breaching the upper bounds of the 42.2 ruble corridor against the basket set by the Central Bank.

Anticipating instability, the Central Bank unexpectedly raised its key lending rate in the morning from 5.5 to 7 percent, and propped up the ruble by selling dollars.

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

"There have been some $11 billion sold today, some $10 billion came from the Central Bank," said Mikhail Paley, a dealer at VTB Capital. The Central Bank still holds $493.4 billion in gold and foreign exchange reserves.

The increased lending rates will boost the cost of financing in rubles, which should in turn make the ruble more attractive for currency traders and ultimately stabilize the exchange rate, said HSBC chief economist Alexander Morozov, Vedomosti reported.

Other analysts doubted that the rate hike can prevent a further decline.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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