Russian rouble at lowest ever against the euro, Moscow stocks slide

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Russian rouble at lowest ever against the euro, Moscow stocks slide

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The Russian rouble hit an all-time low against the euro on Wednesday.

There was some effect from the violent political crisis in neighbouring Ukraine, but foreign exchange traders said that the fall was mostly linked to the finance ministry in Moscow saying it will buy foreign currency to replenish one of its sovereign wealth funds

It is going to purchase nearly $6 billion (4.36 billion euros) in foreign currency on the market in coming months.

Sergez Alin, Senior Analyst with Nord Capital, explained that will decrease the central bank’s daily interventions to support the rouble: “We are expecting a further weakening of the rouble in the next two weeks.”

He continued: “It’s not easy to understand the Bank of Russia’s tactics. They’re continuing to revoke the licences of commercial banks, even if in the current situation it would be better not to spend money on those kinds of interventions, but rather to reduce the withdrawal of those licenses, at least for a few months.”

More than 30 commercial banks have been stripped of their licences to operate since last June in a crackdown on fraud and money laundering.

Central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina has been targeting shady banks which she says are behind the illegal movement of money out of Russia.

The weakening rouble and the violence in Ukraine pulled down Russian share prices, with energy firms hit worst.

Gazprom fell because of concern Ukraine might not be able to pay the money it owes the gas exporter and that the violence and political uncertainty there might disrupt gas supplies to Europe.