MOSCOW, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Russian consumers, who have been snapping up western luxury goods as the ruble falls, face higher prices or no goods at all.
IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant, announced it is halting sales of kitchen appliances and furniture through Saturday. The hiatus will give the company time to restock items hit by the Russian spending spree and to adjust prices, although it said increases would be gradual.
GM, Jaguar, Audi and other car companies said they were suspending shipments to Russia. Apple said Wednesday it was temporarily closing its online site.
The ruble hit a low of 80 to the dollar earlier this week. While it recovered somewhat Thursday, the currency is still far from where it was a year ago.
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the economy "will overcome the current situation" in about two years.
The drop made some items relatively cheap. IKEA's Billy bookcase, for example, has recently been selling for the ruble equivalent of about $30, half what it goes for in the United States
Russians have also been looking to consumer durables as a hedge against inflation.
GM announced this week that shipments to Russia would be suspended. Buyers who have already paid for their vehicles will get them.
"This is a temporary measure because of the volatility of the ruble," Johan Willems, vice president for the Opel Group, told the Detroit Free Press. "I cannot give you any prediction on how long this stop will be."
Audi and Jaguar have also announced they were suspending sales. Aleksey Kozhukhov, a spokesman for Audi in Russia, said the company needs time to adjust its prices, while Jaguar said sales would resume Friday.
Arndt Ellinghorst, an industry analyst with Evercore ISI, told Bloomberg News that many car makers could take a big financial hit because of the ruble's fall. BMW, for example, could lose $123 million or more in fourth-quarter earnings.
BMW has sold 17 percent fewer cars in Russia this year. Nikolai Giles, a company spokesman, said BMW has been trying to move its sales to other markets.