Forex – Ruble Slumps Amid Regional Political Turmoil

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – The Russian ruble slumped Friday, falling to a three-month low against the dollar amid renewed political turmoil in the region, fueling fears of additional sanctions. 

At 9:10 AM ET (1310 GMT), was up 1.4% at 74.8355, trading at levels last seen in early May and up over 20% year to date.

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was hospitalized Thursday, following fears of a suspected poisoning. 

The 44-year-old lawyer has never challenged President Vladimir Putin at the ballot box but is the highest-profile leader of Russia’s deeply divided government opponents.

His wife, Yulia Navalnaya, is said to have written a letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin requesting permission for Navalny to seek medical assistance in Germany.

This is increasing attention on the region at a time when the prospect of Russian intervention in Belarus, in support of beleaguered President Alexander Lukashenko following disputed presidential elections, is appearing increasingly likely.  

“The fear of Russian ‘military’ intervention like in the Ukraine and imposition of further sanctions on Russia poses downside risks for the ruble,” said analysts at MUFG Bank, in a research note earlier in the week.

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