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Russian ruble hits 16-month low amid economic pressure

The Russian ruble has hit its lowest value in 16 months, falling below 100 to the US dollar, signaling growing economic pressure on the country. The devaluation is the result of a combination of factors, including escalating imports, increased military spending related to the Ukraine war and the weight of Western sanctions imposed on Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The ruble initially experienced a sharp decline at the outbreak of the conflict, but later stabilized through capital controls and its significant oil and gas exports. Despite fluctuations since the beginning of the war, since the invasion of Ukraine the ruble has suffered a global depreciation of about 25% against the US dollar.

Recently, the value of the ruble stands at 101.04 per US dollar, indicating its position of weakness. This trend suggests that more rubles are needed to buy a single US dollar, further highlighting the ongoing devaluation.

Russia’s central bank has hinted at a possible hike in key interest rates, although it maintains that the country’s financial stability is not under threat. The bank previously raised interest rates from 9.5% to 20% after the invasion, but later began to reduce them.

Experts point to the deterioration of Russia’s economic fundamentals as the driving force behind the ruble’s decline. The country’s budget deficit, along with dependence on imports from China and Turkey, along with pressures on exports, contribute to the weakening economic outlook.

The imposition of Western sanctions, particularly on oil and gas exports, is another crucial factor affecting Russia’s trade and economy. Many European countries that were once dependent on Russian energy have vowed to cut their imports, leading to less revenue from oil exports. In addition, Russia’s exclusion from the Swift international payment system has also affected Moscow’s financial landscape.

Russ Mould, chief investment officer at AJ Bell, pointed to the strengthening of the US dollar against emerging currencies, attributing it to the strength of the US economy and the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase the interest rates. This global context adds to the relative attractiveness of holding dollar or dollar-denominated assets.

In essence, Russia’s economic challenges encompass a multifaceted combination of internal and external factors, which affect the value of its currency and trade dynamics. The ongoing geopolitical landscape continues to shape the trajectory of the Russian economy, posing both challenges and opportunities for its financial future.

This article is sourced from and written by AI.

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