Russian central bank suspends forex purchases amid ruble depreciation
MOSCOW - The Bank of Russia announced Monday it is to suspend foreign currency purchases on the domestic market for 30 days over the weakening ruble, after a collapse in oil prices.
The move aims to increase the predictability of the monetary authorities and curb the volatility of the financial markets, the central bank said.
The bank added that it is monitoring the financial markets and is ready to take additional measures to maintain financial stability in Russia.
Earlier in the day, Russia's ruble depreciated against the U.S. dollar to over 73 rubles per dollar on the international market, the weakest since March 2016. The ruble against the euro retreated to nearly 84 rubles per euro, the lowest since February 2016.
Russia's financial markets remain closed on Monday for the International Women's Day holiday, but analysts have already expressed fear that Tuesday could be a "blood bath" for the Russian stock market.
The depreciation of the ruble came in the wake of a nosedive in oil prices, after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers failed to agree on further output cuts to stabilise prices at talks in Vienna on Friday.
Russia significantly relies on oil and gas revenues. President Vladimir Putin has said the country wants to reduce dependence on energy industries but needs time to do so.