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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rate Differs Between Market, Street

Moscow's interbank foreign exchange market remained unaffected by Russia's ongoing political drama Tuesday, but ordinary Russians were voting with their rubles, sending the street rate plummeting while the official rate stayed almost unchanged.


At the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, the rate edged to 418 rubles to the dollar, from last week's 419. Traded volume rose slightly to $57. 6 million, from $54. 8 million.


Yury Shchelgakov, spokesman for the exchange, said the political changes would not affect the ruble rate until Thursday, if at all. Except for a one-day boost to 398 on Dec. 3, the rate has been stable at around 418 since Dec. 1, so at least a temporary stabilization has set in, Shchelgakov said.


One reason for the stabilization is simple inertia, Shchelgakov continued. At the end of the year, Russian companies need rubles to pay taxes. and since the Ukraine dropped the ruble for its own currency in November, Shchelgakov said, Ukrainian banks no longer sell rubles at the Moscow exchange.


But macroeconomics were of no concern to the buyers and sellers on Novy Arbat, who rushed from kiosk to kiosk to get the best rates. One seller had already entered a kiosk to sell $50 at 470 per dollar on Tuesday, when a competitor offered his dollars for 465 and got the deal.


One salesman, who buys and sells dollars from his kiosk at Novy Arbat, said demand for dollars was high because people seemed unsure about the political situation. As the Congress of People's Deputies exchanged blows with the Gaidar government, the ruble rate shot up from 420 on Dec. 5 to 450 on the weekend, the salesman said. He sells the dollars he buys the same day for about 25 rubles profit per dollar.