Russia’s central bank raised its interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent in an early Tuesday decision that comes as the ruble continues its year as the world’s worst-performing major currency.
“This decision is aimed at limiting substantially increased ruble depreciation risks and inflation risks,” the Bank of Russia said in a statement on its website.
The timing of the announcement, in the middle of the night, was an apparent attempt to counter financial panic.
Bloomberg adds: “Russia’s central bank raised interest rates for the sixth time in 2014 after more than $80 billion spent from its reserves failed to stop a 49 percent selloff of the ruble … President Vladimir Putin, whose incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March prompted the U.S. and its allies to strike back with sanctions, this month called for ‘harsh’ measures to deter currency speculators.”
The ruble has lost nearly half its value since the beginning of the year and faces a recession next year. The country, the world’s top oil producer, has been battered by oil prices that have fallen by more than 45 percent in the past six months. Oil closed at 55.91 per barrel today; Russia’s budget is predicated on oil being priced at around $100 per barrel.