Russia's central bank raises key rate to 17 pct. from 10.5 pct. amid currency meltdown

Energy Associated Press

The Bank of Russia has drastically raised its key interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent to try to boost its currency, which has been plunging along with oil prices.

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The moves comes after the ruble has shed roughly 50 percent of its value since January, battered by Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine and a huge drop in the price of oil. A falling ruble threatens to send inflation in Russia to dangerously high levels.

The struggling Russian economy is highly dependent on petroleum revenue. The average price of a barrel of oil has dropped to just under $56, down from a summer high of $107.

The Russian government recently downgraded its growth forecast for next year, predicting that the economy will sink into recession.