MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) – The ruble continued its fall in Monday morning trading, reaching a historic low of 47.5 rubles to the euro.
The currency is now at its lowest level against the dollar since March 2009, when it plummeted on fears of a deepening recession in the country.
On Friday, the country’s central bank widened the trading corridor against the euro-dollar basket amid a slide in the ruble of over 3.5 percent since the beginning of the year. The new limit was surpassed Monday morning.
Russia measures the ruble’s performance against a weighted basket of 55 percent dollars and 45 percent euros.
The central bank, which controls the value of the ruble through interventions on the currency market, has repeatedly widened the target trading band for the ruble in recent months.
A weaker ruble means larger profits for Russian exporters and a windfall for the state budget, which is dependent on revenue from commodity exports.
Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Monday that a natural weakening of the ruble could boost the economy by increasing the competitiveness of Russian businesses, but added that he was opposed to an artificial depreciation.
Experts have suggested that the bank may be forced to modify its methods of maintaining the corridor, but doing so now might prompt a further fall in the currency.
The central bank is planning to move toward a free floating ruble by the end of this year.
The central bank’s intervention in trading to prop up the ruble has more than doubled in the last week to about $400 million per day.