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Ruble continues rise

December 22, 2014

The Russian ruble rose once more against the US dollar on Monday, making up some of last week's huge losses. Russia has ruled out currency controls while China has offered help.

Russlands Währung weiter auf Erholungskurs
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Büttner

The Russian ruble started the week on a decidedly better note than last week, when one US dollar fetched 77 rubles - a record high. In early afternoon trading on Monday, a dollar cost just 56 rubles.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who oversees the economy, said he expects the Russian currency to extend its recent gains and that he "opposes" currency controls as a way to tackle the ruble crisis.

Former finance minister and Putin critic Alexei Kudrin, however, said on Monday that Russia was heading towards a "fully-fledged economic crisis" and that the sanctions over Ukraine were primarily behind the fall of the ruble, not falling oil prices.

The ruble has lost over 45 percent of its value against the greenback, suffering particularly steep falls early last week.

China offers help

Meanwhile, Beijing has offered to help Moscow, if need be. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a state newspaper on Monday that China was willing to assist Russia, but believes that the country has the "wisdom" to overcome its current economic problems.

"If the Russian side needs, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity," he said without giving further details.

The ruble's tentative recovery came after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev voiced confidence last week that Moscow can contain the crisis. The central bank announced a range of measures, and the finance ministry said it was selling around $7 billion to prop up the ruble.

"The finance ministry's decision to make available $7 billion of reserves for interventions has without a doubt helped the ruble," Ulrich Leuchtmann, currency expert at Commerzbank told the DPA news agency.

Meanwhile, the Russian government said it would bail out Trust Bank with 30 billion rubles ($525 million) to avoid bankruptcy. It did not say the bailout was linked to the decline in the ruble, however.

The ruble has been the worst performing currency this year along with the Ukrainian hryvnia.

ng/sri (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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