Apple shuts shop as Russian ruble wobbles

Photo:   Mundane Rossiya

The ruble has weakened significantly this year, as sanctions placed against Russia and lowering oil prices have both had an impact upon the country’s economy. Indeed, the ruble fell 13 per cent on Tuesday 16th December against the dollar, reports Business Insider , and by 10 per cent the previous day, falling to approximately 80 to the dollar, compared to 33 to the dollar at the beginning of the year.

Russia took drastic action this week to repair the ruble’s slide, selling off foreign currency to buy up the national currency, boosting its value. It has also increased its key interest rate by an “unexpected” 650 basis points, notes Reuters .

“What we’re seeing now is the result of choosing the wrong time to float the ruble,” analysts at Moscow’s Bank Zenit told the news agency, referring to the decision by Russia’s central bank to float the ruble last month.

While Russia’s sell-off helped to shore up the ruble in the morning, though, the exchange rate eventually returned to its former level.

“The ministry later said it had only around $7 billion in leftover foreign currency and that it had not decided yet how much it would sell,” adds Reuters.

While these volatile fluctuations will deter many investors, the impact of the ruble’s wobble is now also evident in the international business world, with Apple suspending its online sales.

With no physical stores in the country, Apple’s website is its primary shopfront for Russian customers.

“Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” Alan Hely, a spokesman for the Cupertino, California-based company, told Bloomberg .

Apple has already taken steps to counter Russia’s falling ruble, hiking the iPhone 6 price tag by 25 per cent in November 2014. Nonetheless, while shipments in the country rose to 1.9 million in the year ending September 2014, Apple has now temporarily stopped sales altogether.

“We apologize to customers for any inconvenience,” added Apple.