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Rouble's slump continues despite huge interest rate hike by Russian central bank

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Rouble's slump continues despite huge interest rate hike by Russian central bank

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An attempt by Russia’s central bank to put a floor under the slumping rouble has failed.

The bank raised its main interest rate much more than expected, but the Russian currency got only a slight bump for a few minutes and then continued to head south.

The 1.5 percent interest rate hike – from 8.0 to 9.5 percent – comes as the rouble has shed more than 20 percent against a basket of currencies this year. It is down eight percent against the dollar just this month.

The rate hike was also intended to keep rampant inflation – now at 8.4 percent – in check as the central bank struggles with an economy weakened by plunging global oil prices and Western sanctions.

The bank also said it expected Russia’s economic growth to be close to zero in the final three months of this year and in the first quarter of 2015.