Declining oil prices made Central Bank of Russia devalue the currency again, so that it went down to the weakest level in six years vs. dollar
The ruble fell 1.7 percent to 31.05 per dollar, from 30.53 Sunday, extending its decline to 24 percent since August. Central Bank widened the ruble's trading band against a dollar/euro basket. Official ruble trading began Sunday for the first time this year.
The Central Bank devalued the currency for the 14th time since Nov. 11 as Urals crude, Russia's main export blend, slid to $42.99 a barrel, below the $70 average required to balance this year's budget, and the halt in gas supplies to Europe dampened the outlook for export earnings.
The ruble may slump as much as 16 percent this month, according to Alexei Moiseyev, Renaissance Capital's head of fixed-income research, while Troika Dialog said most regional clients expect a retreat of as much as 30 percent within three months.
The currency weakened 1.5 percent to 35.82 versus the Central Bank's target basket, which is made up of about 55 percent dollars and the rest euros. Policymakers devalued the ruble against the basket by 1.5 percent to 35.30 on Sunday.