Support The Moscow Times!

Russia's Ruble Opens Weak as Oil Price Drops

Russian rubles and kopecks coins are pictured in a handmade casket made from birch bark in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

The Russian ruble opened 1.8 percent weaker against the dollar on Tuesday pressured by a continuing decline in the oil price and fears that agency Standard & Poor's could downgrade the country's rating in coming days.

The Russian currency tracked international oil benchmark Brent, which was down 4 percent on Tuesday morning to a nearly six-year low of $45.50 per barrel.

At 0708 GMT, the ruble was 1.8 percent down against the dollar at 64.34 rubles and 2 percent weaker against the euro at 76.25.

S&P said last month it expected to complete a review of Russia, which it already rates at just one notch above junk with a negative outlook, by mid-January.

ING analyst Dmitry Polevoy said in a note that the ruble could expect support later in the month from revenue sales by exporters which should start to pay taxes after Jan. 15.

But he added that without a rise in oil price it was likely to continue weakening in the short term to 65 rubles a dollar.

The ruble could also be supported by lower foreign-currency debt payments, estimated at less than $7.5 billion in January, down from $33 billion in December.

Russian stock indexes also fell: the ruble-based MICEX index was down 0.4 percent at 1,507 points, while the dollar-based RTS was down 2.55 percent at 737 points.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.