Putin Warns Against Dollar Buying

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned against buying dollars Wednesday as the ruble fell to its lowest level in two years against the currency.

The ruble slid for a sixth day against the dollar as oil declined almost 2 percent to $69.46 a barrel.

"It's a dubious business. It's not clear what will happen to the dollar," Putin said, Interfax reported.

The ruble slid as much as 1 percent to 26.98 per dollar, the weakest since Oct. 16, 2006. "There is an overwhelming demand for dollars that the banks are just not able to meet," said Elina Rybakova, chief economist at Citigroup.

The ruble, however, was little changed on Wednesday, as the Central Bank sold about $4.5 billion from its reserves to support the currency. It was at 30.393 against the euro-dollar basket to which it is pegged, from 30.387 on Tuesday.

(Bloomberg, Reuters)