The Russian rouble weakened substantially in the final week of 2015, reaching its lowest level in a year on Thursday December 31st amid falling oil prices.
Benchmark Brent crude oil fell more than 3 per cent to $36.64 a barrel on Wednesday as Saudi Arabia reiterated it would not cut production in response to lower oil prices after announcing a radical austerity programme earlier this week.
The news helped to trigger a slide in the rouble to more than 73 to the dollar. The Russian currency is down 26 per cent since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, Russia is faced with the prospect of a second successive year of recession in 2016 amid continued oil price weakness.
The Russian economy is expected to contract 3.7 per cent this year, hit by falling oil prices and western sanctions. Russian government data showed that the economy contracted month-on-month in November for the first time in five months.
The year 2016 is also expected to be challenging for the Russian economy, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin saying the “peak of the crisis” had passed. The ongoing weak oil prices has tempered those optimistic expectations.
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