MOSCOW (AP) — With its economy spiraling toward recession following Western sanctions and a dramatic fall in the price of oil, Russia took another step Tuesday to shore up the value of the ruble, which has been one of the world's worst-performing currencies this year.
Russia's energy-dependent economy has suffered a severe economic shock over the past few months, largely because oil prices have tanked — the benchmark New York rate has fallen by around a half since June to stand at not much more than $55 a barrel.
Because the Russian economy remains hugely reliant on energy revenues, that spells trouble. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's became the latest to warn over Russia's outlook as it put the country on notice that it may face a downgrade following "a rapid deterioration of Russia's monetary flexibility and the impact of the weakening economy on its financial system." S&P said it plans to make an announcement by mid-January. Any cut from the current BBB- would push Russia's debt rating into so-called "junk" status.
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