Russian Ruble in freefall

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The Russian currency has depreciated significantly since 2008 and Western sanctions imposed in response to the invasion of Ukraine have pushed it into a freefall….reports Asian Lite News

Russia has banned its citizens from buying US dollars, completing the isolation of an economy that once had ambitions to join the global club of financial powers, CNN reported.

As recently as the 2008 global financial crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his lieutenants had promoted the ruble as a potential alternative to the US dollar, arguing that it should be an integral part of the global financial system. Russia would become one of the world’s five biggest economies, they had claimed.

Putin’s quest to dominate his neighbours, starting with his assault on Georgia in 2008, and continuing with the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and last month’s invasion of Ukraine, has shredded what remained of the authoritarian leader’s economic dreams, CNN reported.

In early 2008, one US dollar would buy roughly 25 rubles. The Russian currency has depreciated significantly since then, and Western sanctions imposed in response to the invasion of Ukraine have pushed it into a freefall.

On Wednesday, one US dollar could buy 117 rubles in Moscow after the currency fell 10 per cent and hit a new record low. The ruble has been even weaker in the offshore market this week, the report said.

The latest slide came after Russia’s central bank banned Russians from buying hard currencies and ordered banks to cap withdrawals from foreign currency accounts at $10,000 for the next six months, moves that could help preserve some of the country’s dollar reserves and support the ruble.

Sergey Aleksashenko, a former Russian finance ministry and central bank official, described the strategy as “incredible foolishness” that could lead to a run on the banks, CNN reported.

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