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Russian Ruble Briefly Falls To Lowest Level Since 2016

People walk past a screen displaying foreign currency exchange rates outside a bureau de change in Moscow. (file photo)

The Russian currency -- the ruble -- briefly fell on August 23 to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in more than two years amid concerns sparked by new economic sanctions by the United States.

Earlier on August 23, the ruble had dropped by some 2 percent to trade at nearly 69 to the dollar, but after the Russian Central Bank said it would suspend foreign-currency purchases, it recovered part of its losses to trade at 68.3

The Central Bank said its purchase of foreign currency will be suspended until the end of September "to reduce the volatility on financial markets."

The latest drop in the value of the ruble came amid reports that the United States was preparing further sanctions against Moscow.

On August 21, Washington imposed sanctions on two Russian shipping companies over alleged oil trading with North Korea.

It could also slap much broader penalties as a consequence of the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain in March.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called sanctions against Russia "counterproductive and senseless" following talks on August 22 with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto.

The last time the ruble reached similar lows was in April 2016 when oil prices fell sharply.

Russia is heavily-dependent on revenues from its oil exports.

Based on reporting by AP and TASS