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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Impact of Currency Ruling Slight

A Russian Central Bank ruling outlawing the sale of goods and services for foreign cash as of Jan. 1 will not adversely affect hard-currency businesses, although it could pose some minor problems, members of the Moscow business community said.


"There are going to be some teething problems", said John Reed, accountant for Rosie O'Grady's bar. Selling for rubles, he said, would require changing the tills and keeping prices in sync with the ruble's value.


Nonetheless, he had no qualms about complying with the ruling if and when it goes into effect. "I think it's going to be good for the ruble and therefore for Moscow", he said. "We'll still have the same customers, whether they pay in rubles or in dollars".


The Central Bank has licensed about 1, 000 shops, hotels, bars and restaurants in Moscow to sell for hard currency. Under the new ruling, such businesses will only be allowed to accept hard-currency payment through credit or debit cards, forcing customers to pay with cards or in rubles. The bank intends to enforce the ruling by preventing businesses from depositing hard-currency cash notes.


Konstantin Melkonovitsky, financial director of the Inter-Penta joint venture that runs the Olympic Penta hotel, pointed out that the ruling would pose an inconvenience for the hotel's guests.


"International hotels - such as the Metropol, Radisson-Slavjanskaya and ours - serve a mainly foreign clientele", he said, adding that foreign guests who prefer to pay in cash might have problems changing money, particularly if they are in Moscow for the first time.


Melkonovitsky, however, said he will wait until he receives specific instructions from the Central Bank before he takes any measures.


"It is not necessary to hurry and change everything right now", he said.


At the Julius Meinl supermarket, head cashier Lena Magushena voiced concern over the need to post prices in the Russian currency.


"It would be difficult to have to change the prices every day", she said. "We buy our goods in the West, so it's better for us to sell in hard currency".


Dmitry Novikov of the Sadko supermarket, though, had no specific problems with the ruling, even when asked if accepting more rubles would represent a greater risk.


"If it goes into effect, then we will fulfill it", he said. "Everything continues as it was. You can always come to us with rubles and we will be glad to have you".