29 Nov 2008

Russian rates up as rouble falls

6:27 am on 29 November 2008

Russia's central bank has increased its key interest rate to 13% from 12% in an attempt to help stop further currency losses.

The BBC reports the rouble has fallen approximately 1.9% this week and is heading for its largest weekly fall in five years.

For the second time this week, the central bank, Bank Rossii, widened the rouble's trading band by about 1% or 30 kopeks.

Russia has spent $US148 billion from its foreign currency reserves since August to stop a fall of the rouble.

The central bank aims to keep the rouble stable against a two-currency basket that is made up of 55% US dollars and 45% euros. Against the dollar, it is down 16% since August.

However, the BBC reports the current situation for the rouble is not as dire as it was in 1998 when the currency lost over 70% of its value against the dollar.

The rouble has been hard-hit by an international fall in oil prices.

Ural crude has been trading consistently below $US50 per barrel this week and was at $US48.61/b late on Friday afternoon.