International sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime sank it to a record low of 121.5 rubles per dollar, triggering memories of the battering it took during the 1998 Russian financial crisis.
Things looked dire enough that U.S. President Joe Biden said the ruble had been reduced to “rubble.”
Now, though, it sure hasn’t. The ruble has surged all the way back to where it was before Putin invaded Ukraine, closing at 79.7 in Moscow on Wednesday.
What’s become clear is that despite an incredibly wide-ranging package of sanctions on the Russian government and its oligarchs, and an exodus of foreign businesses, the actions are largely toothless if foreigners keep guzzling Russian oil and natural gas — supporting the ruble by stocking Putin’s coffers.
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Even as Russia remains mostly cut off otherwise from the global economy, Bloomberg Economics expects the country will earn nearly $321 billion from energy exports this year, up more than a third from 2021.