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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

Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at today’s Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Women’s Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the city’s international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain.” The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their “Industrial St. Petersburg” Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the “Business With China” forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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