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Russian Economy Ministry braces for weaker currency
November 28, 2013, 11:14 am


The ruble has this week risen 1.4 per cent against the euro-dollar basket, the currency benchmark used by the Bank of Russia [AP]

Russia’s Economy Ministry said Thursday that the ruble could depreciate further in 2013, weakening the currency to a four-year low.

The rubles slide has come despite high oil prices and the ongoing tax collection period, which would normally be expected to increase demand for the domestic currency as businesses pay off their dues to the state.

Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev admitted there was a small chance the ruble’s fall could gather pace, Russia’s Prime news agency reported.

The ruble has this week risen 1.4 per cent against the euro-dollar basket, the currency benchmark used by the Bank of Russia.

Russia is moving toward a free-floating ruble as part of a shift in monetary policy priorities. The Bank of Russia has widened the corridor in which it sells or buys currency six times this month.

Gross domestic product will expand at an average pace of 2.5 per cent through 2030, the Russian Economy Ministry said this month.

Bank of Russia Deputy Chairman Ksenia Yudaeva said Thursday that the ruble’s decline has been caused by external factors.

However, some analysts have linked the fall to a growing lack of trust in Russia’s banking system. As part of its campaign against shadow banking, the regulator revoked the license of mid-sized Master Bank last week, causing widespread problems with card payment transactions.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had blamed slow growth in the European Union and the United States for stagnation in the Russian economy.

“The European economy is teetering on the edge of recession, and has slowed growth in all BRICS countries,” he said in September.

The prime minister has said that Russia needs to move forward despite the risks.

“The world does not stand still, and global competition will become fiercer than ever. For Russia this may become a historic chance to change its role in the international division of labor. We have certain advantages over other countries in terms of low debt indicators and large reserves,” urged Medvedev.

Source: Agencies

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