Russians are scrambling to withdraw US dollars at ATMs as the ruble hits a record low on the invasion of Ukraine

The Russian ruble plunged nearly 30% against the US dollar on Monday to a record low.

Russians are scrambling foreign currencies and cash at ATMs in the country.

Western allies have said they will slap restrictive measures on Russia’s international reserves.

Russians are standing in long lines to withdraw foreign currencies from ATMs as Western sanctions send the ruble to a record low against the US dollar.

On Monday, the Russian ruble tumbled nearly 30% against the greenback, dropping to as low as 119 against the dollar, according to Reuters.

The plunge came after the European Commission said on Saturday that Western allies will slap restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank’s international reserves worth $630 billion. The measures will "paralyse the assets of Russia’s central bank," "freeze its transactions," and "make it impossible for the Central bank to liquidate its assets," EC President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a tweet.

Western countries have intensified their economic isolation of Russia, including the removal of selected banks from the SWIFT banking system.

The moves have spooked many Russians, who are withdrawing US dollars at more than a 30% premium over the market’s close on Friday, according to Bloomberg.

"I’ve stood in lines for an hour, but foreign currency is gone everywhere, just rubles," Vladimir, a 28-year-old programmer, told Bloomberg. He declined to give his last name.

Russians also fear their bank cards may stop functioning and that banks might limit cash withdrawals, Reuters reported. "Since Thursday, everyone has been running from ATM to ATM to get cash. Some are lucky, others not so much," one St. Petersburg resident told the outlet.

Russia’s central bank is calling for calm, saying in a Sunday statement it has "the necessary resources and tools to maintain financial stability and ensure the operational continuity of the financial sector."

Major state-owned Russian bank Sberbank said in a press release on Friday that it was operating as normal, and that customers will continue to have access to their funds and be able to exchange them into foreign currencies.

However, the European Central Bank said on Monday that Sberbank Europe — a fully owned subsidiary of Sberbank Russia — is "failing or likely to fail" alongside its Croatian and Slovenian units due to significant deposit outflows. "This led to a deterioration of its liquidity position," the ECB said in the statement.

The ruble is likely to continue coming under pressure.

"The most important thing is that the West is freezing the Central Bank’s reserves," former Russian prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov wrote on Twitter, per a Reuters translation. "There is nothing to support the ruble with. They will turn on the printing press. Hyperinflation and catastrophe for the economy are not far away."

Sberbank did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.co.za/ruble-hits-record-low-russians-rush-withdraw-us-dollars-atms-2022-2?r=US&IR=T

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