Russian Central Bank steps up ruble support

Sanctions over Ukraine conflict have sent the currency plummeting to historic lows

The Central Bank of Russia spent over $1 billion in foreign currency reserves to support the ruble on February 24, during the first round of anti-Russia sanctions related to the start of military operations in Ukraine, the regulator revealed on Monday.

An equivalent of $1.057 billion (nearly 85 billion rubles) in foreign reserves were sold last Thursday, according to the regulator’s data, which is usually disclosed with a delay. The amount in dollars is calculated based on the exchange rate for that day.

The Bank of Russia began currency interventions last week to support the ruble as it started plummeting in the wake of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. The EU has since imposed sanctions on the country and banned the Central Bank’s operations with its foreign reserves, threatening to freeze up to half of Russia’s foreign reserves. There have also been threats to disconnect some of Russian banks from the global payment system.

READ MORE: Russian Central Bank raises key interest rate to 20% per annum

As trading opened on Monday, the Russian currency plummeted further, dropping to as low as 109 rubles per dollar and to 122 rubles per euro before recovering some of the losses. The ruble has lost about 30% of its value since the last trading day on Friday.

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