mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Ruble Trouble
The Russian Ruble: How Low Can It Go?

The Russian ruble hit a new low against the dollar, breaking its previous record by a significant margin. At its nadir, it took seven rubles more to buy a single U.S. dollar than it did when we last checked a little over a month ago. The Wall Street Journal gets at what’s driving the selloff:

The ruble, hit by capital flight, an economic slowdown and Western sanctions, has come under increased selling pressure in the past few weeks as the price of oil-the country’s key export-has tumbled below $100 per barrel. Brent crude prices hovered at $92.60 per barrel on Monday, some $10 below an average price factored into Russia’s 2014 budget.

The ruble is also being pressured by local demand for hard currencies as banks and companies face increasingly limited access to external borrowing due to Western sanctions.

Oleg Kouzmin, chief economist at Renaissance Capital in Moscow, said that the fair ruble price for oil between $95 and $100 per barrel stands at around 36 rubles per dollar.

The above quoted “fair ruble price” matches, not coincidentally, what a surveyed group of economists agreed was Russia’s breakeven price of about $100 dollars per barrel of crude oil.

But the real current price of the ruble, fair or not, is being dragged significantly lower than that by a global glut which is being fed in no small part by America’s huge uptick in energy production over the last several years, and which shows no signs of stopping. That spells trouble in the medium and long terms for the oil-dependent Russian economy and for Putin, whose regime derives its continued power from a compact with the people to ensure stability and economic prosperity.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Nathaniel Greene

    Go to any bank and ask to exchange your rubles for dollars at the “fair ruble rate.” They will laugh at you. There is a market rate and a black market rate for the ruble vis a vis the dollar. Period.

    • Rick Johnson

      Quite so. The only fair price for anything is the price someone voluntarily prepared to pay.

  • Surfed

    And the last time we imposed sanctions on a major player (Japan) what happened? We should be prepared for any Russian play by Putin to deflect discontent at home.

    • mc

      Japan surrendered unconditionally and has since been a model to the world.

      • Sibir_RUS

        National debt of Japan exceeded one quadrillion ¥.
        More debt only in the United States.

  • Sibir_RUS

    The corridor for the rouble 33,95-40,95 is considered normal.
    BRICS, SCO, CELAK, and other countries make the transition to settlements in national currencies. Russia no longer considers it appropriate to sell oil and gas exclusively for dollars. We prefer the euro and the Chinese yuan.

  • Sibir_RUS

    I wouldn’t point the finger at Russia. The U.S. is the most poor country, if consider the size of the national debt.
    America’s Debt: The Tip and the Bulk of the Iceberg

    Today, every man on the street knows that the US government’s debt currently equals USD 17 trillion. Some have even memorised, meanwhile, that this exceeds America’s gross domestic product (106 percent of GDP).

    The US government’s debt is only part of a more general debt, which is often referred to as the United States’ total debt. The media very rarely publishes figures on the United States’ total debt. This is partly because these debt figures are not so reliable. The main reason, however, is that for all their mistakes, they present a true picture of the economic situation of the world’s leading country. And it turns out that the picture is an extremely unpleasant one: it raises doubts over whether America really is the world’s leading economy.
    The main components of the United States’ total debt are: 1) public debt; 2) the debt of state governments (state debt); 3) the debt of local authorities (local debt); 4) the debt of individuals (personal debt); 5) the debt of nonfinancial companies (business debt); and 6) the debt of the economy’s
    financial sectors (financial sectors debt).

    As a result, we have the size of the United States’ so-called consolidated debt, equal to USD 186 trillion. The relative level of consolidated debt exceeds the US’ current annual GDP by 11.6 times…

    • Edgeslider

      It is all the way, until the end and over the cliff with Putin then for you, comrade? Get a grip. The USSR ain’t coming back. Not a chance.

      • Sibir_RUS

        Calm down. Putin has repeatedly said that Russia is not going to restore the USSR. These gossip spreads Hillary Clinton. The Eurasian Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are primarily economic Union within the CIS. It is created to extract the mutual economic benefits.

  • Dan Richards

    Devaluation of the Ruble is important because Russia lacks production self-sufficiency in many many sectors, leaving Russians highly dependent on hard currency imports.. Concerning food, Russia hasn’t fed itself since they shot the Czar and Ukraine – ironically – remains a provider of many key basics for the Russian table. As an index of (potential) distress in Russia, I would watch the retail price and availability of kasha (buckwheat), which features in nearly every Russian’s breakfast meal every day. If kasha disappears from store shelves, the babushkas will be terrifyingly unforgiving.

    • Sibir_RUS

      One in seven Americans, more than 46 million people, including 12 million children, rely on food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families, according to a new study released by Feeding America, the nation’s largest provider of charitable food assistance to low-income Americans.

      In Russia there are no such problems. Hunger does not threaten us.

    • Sibir_RUS

      American human rights activists are sounding the alarm. Feeding The Homeless BANNED In Major Cities All Over America.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service