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Australian dollar sheds 50pts in 35 minutes, drops below US82c

Australian dollar sheds 50pts in 35 minutes, drops below US82c

CANBERRA:THE Australian dollar slumped about 50 points in 35 minutes in afternoon trade amid ongoing turmoil over the Russian rouble.The plunge took the dollar to a four-and-a-half year low of US81.56 cents by 2.54pm (AEDT), as stop-loss orders were triggered below 82 cents.at 4pm (AEDT) the unit was trading at US81.57c.

The fall came after Russia’s rouble crashed to unprecedented lows, as Moscow’s dramatic move to raise interest rates to 17 per cent failed to arrest the collapse of the currency.The almost halving of crude oil prices in the past six months, as well as Western sanctions over Ukraine, have been devastating for Russia’s economy.

We are in the midst of a fully-blown Russian economic crisis caused by the collapse in oil prices,” says Westpac chief currency strategist Robert Rennie.Russia’s central bank pushed interest rates up 6.5 per cent yesterday, and has been intervening constantly this week, yet at its worst last night, the rouble was down 35 per cent for the week.