MOSCOW – The Russian ruble has hit another historic low against the dollar as oil prices continue to slide due to a surplus of crude oil on world markets.
The ruble traded above 85 to the dollar for the first time in Moscow early Thursday afternoon, a fall of more than three percent, which beat the previous low of 82.4 to the dollar set in trading Wednesday evening.
Thursday's slip means the ruble is at its lowest level since the currency was redenominated in 1998, during Russia's worst post-Soviet economic crisis. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, said the situation was not critical.
"I wouldn't use the word 'collapse.' The rate is really changing, the rate is volatile, but it's far from a collapse," he said Thursday in comments reported by Russian news agencies. Putin has no plans for any emergency meetings, he added.
The steep decline in oil prices — now at a 12-year low below $28 a barrel — has been a severe blow to Russia's oil-dependent economy. The ruble's new lows this week follow the lifting of international sanctions against Iran, which increases the supply of oil on global markets.
The IMF predicted Tuesday that Russia's economy will contract 1 percent in 2016 following a fall of 3.7 percent last year, before returning to 1 percent growth next year.
In the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, another major ex-Soviet oil producer, the tenge currency fell to a record 383.91 against the dollar Thursday as the economy feels the pressure of low energy prices.