Picture: Reuters

Moscow - The Russian rouble hit a five-year low against the euro on Friday and approached a record weak point against the single European currency after sliding for weeks.

The euro was worth 47.12 rubles in afternoon trading on the Moscow Exchange after gaining more than 0.6 percent - just off the 47.25 rubles at which it was quoted at the height of Russia's financial crisis in early 2009.

The dollar had also gained more than 0.6 percent against the Russian currency and was trading at three-year highs of 34.48

rubles on the Moscow Exchange.

The Russian currency in the past four weeks has lost more than four percent of its value against a basket of euros and dollars the Central Bank uses to set its policies.

Traders said the selling accelerated after Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was quoted as saying on Thursday that the ruble was more likely to weaken than strengthen in the coming weeks.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Moscow Echo radio on Friday that he “sees no problem” with the current ruble exchange rate.

“This is the policy of the Central Bank and the financial authorities - to make the exchange rate more flexible,” Siluanov said. - Sapa-AFP