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Kremlin worried by currency fluctuations — spokesman

December 15, 2015, 11:50 UTC+3
According to Vladimir Putin's spokesman, the Kremlin is closely watching the fluctuations
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© Sergei Konkov/TASS

MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. The Kremlin closely follows ruble fluctuations and considers them worrisome but the question of concrete measures should be addressed to the government, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.

"Such currency fluctuations are worrisome. We closely watch them," Peskov said answering a question on what currency exchange rate will be considered critical in the Kremlin.

"Talking about the concrete level, this question should be addressed to the government. This is the concern of the government," he added.

Dynamics of ruble rate against US dollar in 2015

As of January 1, 2015, the Russian Central Bank set the dollar rate of 56.24 rubles (the ruble declined by 72.2% against the US dollar since the beginning of 2014). On January 13, the first day after the end of the New Year holidays, due to the continuing fall in oil prices on the world market, the Russian Central Bank set the dollar exchange rate at the level of 62.73 rubles (increase of 11.53%), followed by the Russian currency continuing its fall in price. On January 24 the ruble slightly rose in value (dollar fell from 65.40 to 63.39 rubles - by 3.07%), but on January 27 the ruble continued to fall (to 65.59 rubles per dollar).

In late January, the Russian Central Bank lowered its key rate from 17% to 15%, which became another reason for another weakening period of the Russian currency. The peak of the decline of the ruble in early 2015 fell on February 3, when the Russian Central Bank set the dollar rate of 69.66 rubles (the cost of the US dollar increased by 23.86% since the beginning of the year). After a slight decrease, by February 6 the rate grew again (up to 68.61 rubles per dollar), but after that began to steadily decreased.

Russia’s ruble exchange rate has declined by 15 kopecks and stood at 70.4 per US dollar at Moscow Stock Exchange in the morning. On December 14, the Russian ruble reached the rate of 71 per 1 US dollar for the second time this year. This rate, however, is not a record as on 16 December last year 1 US dollar cost more than 80 rubles. The devaluation of the Russian ruble started in the second half of 2014 when the Russian currency crashed against the US dollar by 2.2 times in June-December.

Ruble strengthens in spring and summer of 2015

The Russian currency began to strengthen against the US dollar on February 21 (from 62.13 to 61.72 rubles per dollar, increasing by 0.65%). On March 7, the dollar for the first time after the New Year holidays fell below 60 rubles: the dollar exchange rate against the ruble fell from 61.84 to 59.99. On April 17, the dollar fell below 50 rubles - to 49.67 rubles.

The peak of the ruble strengthening in 2015 took place in April and May. On May 20, the US dollar ratre stood at 49.18 rubles (falling by 12.5% since the beginning of the year). The Russian Central Bank explained the ruble strengthening by the stabilization of world oil prices, by the end of the peak in external debt payments, increasing the key rate, more uniform sales of foreign exchange earnings by exporters, as well as the development of the instruments for monetary refinancing.

On May 14, 2015, the Russian Central Bank for the first time since the summer of 2014 began to buy foreign currency on the domestic market (on average - 200 mln dollars and euro daily). In total before July 28 the regulator bought 10 bln dollars and euro, and then stopped interventions.

In late May - early June, due to the instability of the situation in Ukraine, foreign currencies increased in price. Starting from June 27 the dollar returned to the level above 50 rubles - to 50.32 rubles.

New drop in August and December

Since the beginning of June until mid-July, oil prices were stable. Dollar rested at the level of 52-55 rubles. However, the subsequent drop in oil prices caused by the investors' fears of its excess supply in the market, as well as instability in the stock markets and the devaluation of the Chinese yuan on August 11, led to a decline in the cost of the Russian currency. On August 13, the Russian Central Bank set the dollar above 65 rubles (65.02 rubles per dollar).

A sharp drop in the ruble exchange rate happened on August 24 after a decline in the cost of Brent crude oil to less than $50 a barrel. For the first time since December 2014, the dollar exchange rate exceeded 71 rubles, increasing by 44.3% or 21.82 rubles from the minimum value in spring. As of August 25, 2015, the Russian Central Bank set the dollar at around 70.75 rubles - for the first time in the history of the official rate of the Russian Central Bank exceeded 70 rubles.

The dollar stayed at the level above 70 rubles only one day - it was followed by a correction. In September-November, the US currency has stabilized at the level of 65-67 rubles, in mid-October it even fell to a level of 61.1 rubles (on October 10, 13, 17, and 20).

The ruble resumed its decline on December 3 due to another drop in oil prices, below $40 per barrel.

Year’s biggest fluctuations

The lowest rate of the US dollar in 2015 was registered on May 20 (49.18 rubles per dollar). The highest - on August 25 (70.75 rubles per dollar).

Except for the depreciation of the ruble at the opening of trading after the New Year’s holidays in 2015 the largest daily decline in the official exchange rate of the ruble against the dollar was recorded on February 6 (4.83%, or 3.16 rubles) and April 22 (4, 76%, or 2.45 rubles). At the same time, the Russian currency saw the biggest rise against the dollar on April 24 (3.83%, or 2.05 rubles) and on February 7 (3.74%, or 2.57 rubles).


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