There's No Ignoring the Signs of Free-Falling Ruble in Russia

Russian life with the ruble: it's been a tenuous year.

— -- The Russian ruble's abrupt fall today is part of a year-long drop by more than half the value of the currency.

Back in Dec. 16, 2013, one ruble was worth about 3 cents, according to S&P Capital IQ. In reverse, a dollar was worth about 32.90 rubles back then. Fast forward to today when it fell as much as 20 percent before recovering to 72 for every dollar. With Russian confidence in their economy faltering, the ability to buy things with the ruble becomes more tenuous.

The rampant decline of the ruble is the result of many different variables, according to Lindsey Piegza, Sterne Agee's chief economist, including a fall in oil prices, one of the country's major commodities.

Here are snapshots of ruble exchange rates with the dollar and euro on the streets of Moscow over the past month:

Nov. 10, 2014: About 45 to a dollar

The flood of rubles out of the country, as Russian businesses and consumers try to buy foreign imports that are getting more expensive by the day, has led to a fall in the currency, especially compared to the dollar and euro.

Dec. 1, 2014: About 50 to a dollar

Dec. 3, 2014: About 53 to a dollar

But the plan only worked momentarily.

Dec. 9, 2014: About 54 to a dollar

Declining oil prices and several rounds of sanctions that harm investors and businesses are among the drivers of the ruble's fall, Piegza says.

Domestic policy hasn't helped either. The Russian government threatening the seizure of foreign-owned assets is cause for concern and has caused a lack of confidence in the country's ability to rebound, resulting in billions in loans coming due rather than being renewed, Piegza says.

Dec. 12, 2014: About 57 to a dollar

"Clearly foreign investors are concerned, in some cases pulling funds out of the troubled nation," she said.

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