MOSCOW: The Russian ruble has again fallen sharply as last week’s U.S. sanctions continue to bite and President Donald Trump threatened a missile strike on Syria.
The dollar traded above 64 rubles on the Moscow exchange Wednesday morning for the first time since 2016, a 2 percent drop. The Russian currency fell further after Trump’s message on Twitter that missiles “will be coming,” trading close to 65 to the dollar.
The euro traded above the 80-ruble mark, which it last reached in early March 2016, when historically low oil prices were hurting the Russian economy.
U.S. sanctions imposed Friday barred U.S. citizens from doing business with numerous Russian businessmen, officials and companies, and froze any assets they may have in U.S. jurisdiction.
Russian markets have been spooked not only by the impact on sanctioned companies such as aluminum producer Rusal but also by the prospect of further sanctions.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that the sanctions were U.S. protectionism — particularly in the metals sector — in disguise.
“The latest U.S. administration decision ... is an attempt to fight us through unfair competition, limit our development and create tensions on the economy and the currency and fund markets,” he told the Russian parliament.
“There’s no doubt that will deal with this pressure. We have already learnt how to do it and will definitely turn all these actions to the benefit of our own economy and economic development,” he said, warning “but we will not forget those who continue this anti-Russian policy, those who harm our country.”
Medvedev elaborated a bit on expected retaliation by Russia.
“As for counter measures — they should be well calculated, they should not harm us, they should be adequate,” he said. “Still, nevertheless, I don’t exclude that we will have to review all the aspects of cooperation with the U.S. in main areas.”
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