The Fort Worth Press - Russians worry for their savings as ruble tanks

USD -
AED 3.672991
AFN 70.737778
ALL 93.90921
AMD 387.684865
ANG 1.800666
AOA 855.500838
ARS 902.188398
AUD 1.511984
AWG 1.8
AZN 1.699256
BAM 1.82663
BBD 2.017344
BDT 117.416866
BGN 1.823845
BHD 0.376571
BIF 2871.819298
BMD 1
BND 1.352461
BOB 6.903798
BRL 5.350492
BSD 0.999145
BTN 83.469738
BWP 13.60306
BYN 3.269311
BYR 19600
BZD 2.013981
CAD 1.373595
CDF 2844.999892
CHF 0.89062
CLF 0.033537
CLP 925.379759
CNY 7.255298
CNH 7.270245
COP 4138.57
CRC 526.750816
CUC 1
CUP 26.5
CVE 102.982586
CZK 23.113597
DJF 177.899815
DKK 6.970801
DOP 59.324844
DZD 134.813653
EGP 47.729798
ERN 15
ETB 57.144712
EUR 0.934405
FJD 2.238696
FKP 0.784602
GBP 0.78849
GEL 2.869929
GGP 0.784602
GHS 15.038549
GIP 0.784602
GMD 67.74986
GNF 8601.728751
GTQ 7.761169
GYD 209.056565
HKD 7.81215
HNL 24.694713
HRK 7.018438
HTG 132.537603
HUF 372.329952
IDR 16486.5
ILS 3.724175
IMP 0.784602
INR 83.55205
IQD 1308.845024
IRR 42100.00005
ISK 139.470006
JEP 0.784602
JMD 155.494226
JOD 0.7089
JPY 157.334002
KES 129.376996
KGS 87.859899
KHR 4115.007262
KMF 457.498588
KPW 900.000131
KRW 1383.280182
KWD 0.30672
KYD 0.832715
KZT 451.707504
LAK 21821.866697
LBP 89484.876928
LKR 303.871712
LRD 193.833093
LSL 18.346058
LTL 2.95274
LVL 0.604889
LYD 4.844426
MAD 10.040861
MDL 17.789981
MGA 4447.495365
MKD 57.545659
MMK 2612.965168
MNT 3450.000098
MOP 8.038834
MRU 39.355944
MUR 46.749769
MVR 15.409952
MWK 1732.393774
MXN 18.466494
MYR 4.719498
MZN 63.695036
NAD 18.346058
NGN 1495.494684
NIO 36.779162
NOK 10.6824
NPR 133.551879
NZD 1.629875
OMR 0.384911
PAB 0.999145
PEN 3.776262
PGK 3.89366
PHP 58.69891
PKR 278.3087
PLN 4.093431
PYG 7514.604727
QAR 3.643733
RON 4.650202
RSD 109.335818
RUB 89.003719
RWF 1310.993121
SAR 3.751599
SBD 8.4616
SCR 14.340133
SDG 586.000017
SEK 10.518975
SGD 1.353205
SHP 1.26345
SLE 22.847303
SLL 20969.501917
SOS 571.0203
SRD 31.57202
STD 20697.981008
SVC 8.742756
SYP 2512.530426
SZL 18.335411
THB 36.69019
TJS 10.685757
TMT 3.5
TND 3.127256
TOP 2.35645
TRY 32.7952
TTD 6.789855
TWD 32.364009
TZS 2623.01396
UAH 40.655823
UGX 3711.538551
UYU 39.160748
UZS 12603.727416
VEF 3622552.534434
VES 36.483634
VND 25455
VUV 118.721975
WST 2.800615
XAF 612.634548
XAG 0.033909
XAU 0.00043
XCD 2.70255
XDR 0.757251
XOF 612.634548
XPF 111.383515
YER 250.300789
ZAR 18.36105
ZMK 9001.203834
ZMW 26.152618
ZWL 321.999592
  • SCS

    0.0700

    12.4

    +0.56%

  • AZN

    0.0600

    79.59

    +0.08%

  • RIO

    -0.4100

    66.51

    -0.62%

  • CMSC

    0.0400

    24.54

    +0.16%

  • NGG

    0.4000

    56.55

    +0.71%

  • RBGPF

    0.0000

    56.5

    0%

  • RYCEF

    -0.1700

    5.81

    -2.93%

  • GSK

    -0.4600

    40.65

    -1.13%

  • BP

    -0.3000

    34.89

    -0.86%

  • BTI

    0.0300

    30.63

    +0.1%

  • BCC

    -3.9000

    126.6

    -3.08%

  • BCE

    -0.3754

    32.88

    -1.14%

  • RELX

    -0.4300

    45.22

    -0.95%

  • CMSD

    -0.1000

    24.36

    -0.41%

  • JRI

    -0.0865

    11.89

    -0.73%

  • VOD

    -0.0100

    8.74

    -0.11%

Russians worry for their savings as ruble tanks
Russians worry for their savings as ruble tanks

Russians worry for their savings as ruble tanks

When she saw the ruble go through the floor, Natalia Proshina made a beeline for the bank.

Text size:

Like countless other Russians, she feared her savings would vanish overnight in an economic crisis precipitated by western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, the Russian currency plummeted to a historic low, falling to 100 against the dollar and 109.4 against the euro.

The tanking ruble revived unpleasant memories of financial instability of the 1990s, when millions of Russians saw their savings evaporate under the effect of a devaluating currency and soaring inflation.

"As soon as I saw the ruble nosedive, I rushed to the bank," Natalia explained.

The retired 75-year-old, who used to be a journalist on Soviet-era television, kept her money in VTB, Russia's largest bank after Sberbank.

The West slapped sanctions on both state-owned financial institutions when Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine last Thursday and Sberbank's European subsidiary is already on the verge of collapse.

Natalia said she rushed to withdraw her cash "to avoid losing my entire fortune", just as she had in the 1998 financial crisis.

"We lost all our money then, including everything my husband had earned abroad," she lamented.

"I don't want to play this game with the state any more... They could declare martial law at any minute and confiscate my savings (for the war effort)," the one-time Soviet propagandist muttered furiously.

- Fearful for the future -

Outside Natalia's bank in central Moscow, Alexander Zuyev, who works in the culture industry, waited his turn to see his account manager.

"I think it's pretty reasonable to withdraw cash, given the current climate," the 40-year-old opined.

"We all have to look after ourselves, seeing as we have no idea what this country is going to come to."

Fidgeting behind him in the queue, 51-year-old retired soldier Edward Sysoyev was losing patience.

He tried to get cash out of another branch of VTB but couldn't.

While there is as yet no major rush on the banks, Edward thinks panic is not far off.

"Ninety percent of Russians are going to rush to withdraw their rubles and change them into dollars, property or even gold," he predicted.

"It'll be ordinary people who pay for this military bun-fight," he said grimly of President Vladimir Putin's decision to attack Ukraine.

Rustam Iakovlev is also expecting mass panic.

"Even if the central bank tells us everything is OK, people are going to spook and withdraw their cash," the 50-year-old engineer from Moscow forecasted.

"If I had any, I'd have taken the lot out."

- 'No confidence left' -

On Monday, the Russian central bank hiked its key interest rate from 10.5 to 20 percent, after struggling for four days to "stabilise the situation" via interventions on the currency markets.

In the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg, Putin's birthplace, a dozen or so customers hovered outside a subsidiary of Austria's Raiffeisen bank.

Svetlana Paramonova, 58, was among those waiting for the branch to open its doors.

She said she was going to take her money home and keep it there.

"It's safer there, given we haven't a clue what's going on any more," she concluded.

Her neighbour in the queue, Anton Zakharov, had a similar plan.

"No-one has any confidence in the powers that be or in the banks," the 45-year-old explained.

Economic analysts are divided over the potential for more widescale public uproar as Western sanctions bite.

The instability of the ruble will "undercut Russians' standard of living over the next 12 months", Alexei Vedev of the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy told AFP.

Be as that may, the authorities might still keep a lid on the situation.

"Russian discontent will only boil over if people's living standard drops to a third of the current level," said Sergei Khestanov, macroeconomic adviser with dealer Open Broker.

P.Navarro--TFWP