Russia’s complex relationship with the ruble

The most impressive banknote I have ever seen is the 500 ruble note produced by the Imperial Bank of Russia between 1905 and 1912. About four times the size of a modern £50 note, it is magnificently emblazoned with a portrait of Peter the Great and a profusion of cupids and classical pillars. It looks as high-denomination money should look – luxuriant, confidence-inspiring and valuable. The ruble (from ‘rubit’, to chop) was originally a chopped-off piece of Viking silver ingot Appearances can, of course, be deceptive. My Russian wife’s great-great-grand-father, the owner of the Volga Bread Bank of Saratov, unwisely chose to keep his considerable savings in the form of

How worrying is the falling pound?

How are markets responding to Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget? A sharp fall in the pound today has plenty of critics arguing that the tax-slashing announcements have already proved a failure. Sterling fell this afternoon to $1.09, bringing the currency to another 37-year low against the dollar. This is more than a 3 per cent dip in just one day. The euro took a hit too, but a smaller one at 1.5 per cent. It’s difficult to separate this new record low from today’s announcements – but also near impossible to draw direct correlation, as the pound and euro have both been in freefall against the dollar for weeks now. With the