Russia has lost control of its economy and may be forced to impose Soviet-style exchange controls after "shock and awe" action by the central bank failed to stem the collapse of the rouble.
“The situation is critical,” said the central bank’s vice-chairman, Sergei Shvetsov. “What is happening is a nightmare that we could not even have imagined a year ago."
The currency crashed to 100 against the euro in the biggest one-day drop since the default crisis in 1998 as capital flight gathered pace, despite a drastic rise in interest rates to 17pc intended to crush speculators and show resolve.
Yields on two-year Russian bonds spiralled to 15.36pc, while credit default swaps are pricing in a one-third chance of a sovereign default. The shares of Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, fell 18pc.
Neil Shearing, from Capital Economics, said the spectacular failure of the rate shock may bring matters to a head. “If a rise of 650 basis points won’t do the job, we are near the end. That means stringent capital controls,” he said. » | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor | Tuesday, December 16, 2014