Ruble Defense Curtails Russian Reserves by $15.7 Billion in Week

Russia’s international reserves plunged the most in six years, losing $15.7 billion last week as the government and central bank pledged measures to support banks and defend the currency.

The value of the stockpile fell to $398.9 billion in the seven days through Dec. 19, the biggest drop since January 2009 and 22 percent lower than this year’s peak, according to central bank data today. That compares with a $1.6 billion decline the previous week.

Policy makers, led by central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, are fighting to stem the ruble’s worst slump since the 1998 default. As Russia slides toward a recession under the weight of collapsing oil prices and sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, the authorities have raised rates and taken steps to ease dollar demand. Russia sold about $4.8 billion in interventions and provided $9.8 billion under foreign currency repurchase agreements during the week ending Dec. 19, according to central bank data.

The ruble has lost about 27 percent against the dollar in the past three months, the worst performance among more than 170 currencies tracked by Bloomberg. It fell to a record low on Dec. 16, before the emergency steps halted the slide.

The Russian currency strengthened 1.7 percent to 52.55 per dollar by 3:24 p.m. in Moscow today.

Source : Bloomberg