World

Ruble rallies 9 pct following overnight Central Bank rate hike

Signs advertising currencies light next to the exchange office in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. The price of crude oil continued to drop Monday, and Russia's ruble plunged to a record low against the dollar. The ruble crashed through 60 to the dollar, trading at 60.33 by early afternoon.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Signs advertising currencies light next to the exchange office in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. The price of crude oil continued to drop Monday, and Russia's ruble plunged to a record low against the dollar. The ruble crashed through 60 to the dollar, trading at 60.33 by early afternoon.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

A massive overnight rate hike by Russia's Central Bank has pushed the ruble 9 percent higher in early trading.

The ruble traded at 58 per dollar at the opening on Tuesday after losing about 10 percent on Monday in the biggest fall since the 1998 economic meltdown.

The surprise Central Bank announcement to hike the rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent came in the early hours on Tuesday in a desperate move to prop up the trouble currency. It's the biggest interest rate hike since 1998, a year when Russia defaulted on its sovereign bonds.

The ruble has lost half of its value this year and the decline intensified in the past months by Western sanctions and plunging oil prices.