Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ruble Rubble

"Russia's currency fell to a new two-year low despite billions being spent by Moscow to prop it up, and the country's fast-shrinking mountains of reserves and oil revenues threatened to reduce its credit rating, a key marker of its recent resurgence. ... Worried about the turmoil, Russians have hurriedly taken to converting their ruble savings into dollars and euros, driving street exchange rates even lower than the official one. ... Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves fell by $15 billion last week alone, its central bank said Thursday, to $515.7 billion from a total that had neared $600 billion in early August. ... Millions of Russians saw their savings wiped out by a collapse of the currency with the fall of the Soviet Union, and former President Boris Yeltsin's popularity was all but wiped out when the ruble collapsed again in the Russian financial crisis of 1998 after Mr. Yeltsin promised no devaluation. With past collapses still vivid in ther minds of many, analysts say the main pressure on the ruble now is coming from nervous Russians looking for an exit. ... Vladimir Gamza, first vice president at the Association of Regional Banks, said 'panicked demand for dollars' was continuing to hurt the ruble", my emphasis, Alan Cullison and Gregory White at the WSJ, 24 October 2008.

America's last currency collapse was when the Confederacy's price level went up 92 times before April 1865's surrender. I suspect few living Americans remember this. "My fellow Americans", as LBJ began his speeches, wait, you'll get to see one. Poor Russians, panicking into the next currency collapse. "Yeltsin promised", so? Believe nothing said by any government official of any country.

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