Rouble plummets again on oil and China woes

Emma Haslett
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The rouble is likely to end the year as the world's worst-performing currency (Source: Getty)

The rouble fell at its fastest rate since the Russian crisis in 1998 this morning, as it approaches the end of the year as the world's worst-performing currency.

The currency fell 3.1 per cent to 52.00 against the dollar, at 2.5 per cent to 64.55 against the euro during early trading. In the past week alone, the currency has lost 10 per cent against the dollar.

Over recent months, the rouble has been hit by a string of woes, including Western trade sanctions and the longest slide in oil prices since the beginning of the financial crisis. Rapid capital outflows from Russia have served to destabilise things even further.

This morning, weak manufacturing data from China, which showed the sector as hit a six-month low, pushed prices down further. The sector is one of Russia's strongest export markets.

Oil prices fell further on weak trade in the Asian markets this morning, with a barrel of Brent Crude hitting $68.62, while WTI Crude fell to $64.67.

At the end of October the Russian central bank took steps to stave off further slides in the rouble, hiking interest rates by 1.5 percentage points, but shied away from a decisive intervention in the market.

Gleb Zadoya, head analyst at the Profit investment house in Moscow, said today's fall would prompt further speculation as to whether the bank will take steps to intervene in the market.

The only thing that matters to Russian market participants right now is how quickly the central bank will intervene in what is happening.

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