Business

Russian ruble hits all time low of 55-to-1 versus U.S. dollar

The Russian ruble continued its slow slide Thursday, falling to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar. It now costs 55 rubles to get one U.S. dollar.
The value of the ruble has cratered this year because of oil prices, and that's pushed up the cost of imported goods like these ones in a Moscow jewelry store. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

The Russian ruble continued its slow slide Thursday, falling to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar. It now costs 55 rubles to get one U.S. dollar.

Against the euro, the rube was threatening to break through the 70 rubles to one euro threshold for the first time ever, too. Russia's central bank tried to stem the tide in the afternoon by hiking its benchmark interest rate by another quarter of a point.

But it wasn't enough, as the ruble sell-off continued. Russian stocks were also lower, with the benchmark RTS stock index losing almost four per cent.

"It is likely that the market did not see this interest rate decision as being a breaking point in the currency dynamics," Nomura analyst Dmitri Petrov said of the reaction.

Last week the Russian central bank said the country is likely to slip into recession next year. The country's inflation rate has skyrocketed to above 10 per cent this year, very much related to the decline in the ruble (because it costs a lot more rubles to buy anything imported from outside Russia.)

The ruble has lost about 42 per cent of its value since January, battered by Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the drop in the price of oil, the backbone of the Russian economy.

The Central Bank said it would continue to raise its key rate "in the case of further aggravation of inflation risks."

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