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Russian ruble falls to 80 per dollar

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 10:47 AM

MOSCOW, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The value of the Russian ruble fell again Thursday, declining 5.3 percent in a day as Russia's most valuable export, oil, fell to $30 per barrel.

The ruble traded Thursday at 85.999 to the dollar, crossing the psychological threshold of 80 per dollar on Wednesday.

For most of the first decade of the 21st century, the ruble held steady at between 30 and 35 to the dollar. The currency, which has lost 9 percent of its value since the start of 2016, fell as the price of oil declined to levels not seen since 2003.

The country's economy has also been hit hard by economic sanctions placed against it by the West for Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and doing business in Russia remains uncertain for many companies.

Russian households are spending less to weather the decline in their purchasing power, which includes double-digit inflation. Sales of cars in Russia fell by one-third in 2015, consumers are cutting back on food purchases, and those planning vacations have reduced foreign travel and instead have been selecting domestic destinations.

Austerity measures have done little to erode the popularity of Russian President Vladimir Putin, though.

The Bank of Russia, the nation's central bank, said it had no immediate plans to offer support to the ruble. When the ruble last fell to a rate of 80 per dollar, on December 16, 2014, it quickly recovered due to the bank's quick increase in interest rates.

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