Russian Rouble Falls

Russian Rouble Falls

Russian Rouble Falls
  • The Kremlin is scrambling to stave off a run on Russian banks after Western nations announced a barrage of punishing sanctions.
  • Russia’s central bank was also reportedly bringing in new measures to prevent a sell-off of Russian securities. According to Reuters, central bank documents showed that it had ordered market players to reject foreign clients’ bids to sell Russian securities from early Monday morning.
  • The step came after the central bank on Sunday said it would provide unlimited funds to the country’s lenders and dramatically expand eligibility for loans as it was forced to reassure citizens that bank cards would continue to work normally.
  • Russians were yesterday racing to cashpoints and there were reports of the machines running out of banknotes. Russian economist Vladislav Zhukovskiy said “panic has started”.
  • He said: “All over the country there are queues at ATMs to withdraw money. Banks are selling the dollar at 100 to 120 roubles! Where are [central bank chief] Elvira Nabiullina and [prime minister] Mikhail Mishustin?”
  • Customers at the state-owned Sberbank received alerts on Sunday morning informing them that banking services were “operating normally” and that clients would be able to access their savings. The message made no mention of the sanctions.
  • In Khimki, outside Moscow, a queue trailed through a shopping mall of dozens of people waiting to use a cash machine. Similar scenes were playing out across the country.
  • Foreigners in Moscow reported being asked to settle their hotel bills before they left over fears their credit cards would no longer work next week.
  • Bill Ackman, the billionaire US hedge fund manager, wrote on Twitter: “If I were Russian, I would take my money out now. Bank runs could begin in Russia on Monday.”
  • Elina Ribakova, the deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance, said: “Bank runs have started from the very first day of sanctions and have accelerated over the weekend.”

The price of foreign currency in Russian cities soared on Sunday, with many lenders selling dollars for more than 100 roubles, compared to 83.8 roubles on Friday. Russian bank Tinkoff was charging more than 150 roubles for a dollar.

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