US technology giant Apple has suspended trading online in Russia amid the ongoing chaos over the country’s financial situation.
Apple has said that fluctuations in the rouble are making setting prices too complicated in a week in which the currency has lost 20% of its value.
In November Apple increased prices of iPhones and iPads in Russia by 20% to counter a weakening rouble, but continued drops, in particular over the past week, have widened the gulf between Russian and EU prices beyond a manageable degree.
This morning the rouble fell another 5% in value after several days of sharp falls, despite the central bank’s shock intervention to increase interest rates from 10.5% to 17%.
The rouble’s free-fall this week follows months of more steady decline caused by falling global oil prices and sanctions from the US and EU as a result of Russia’s involvement in Crimea and then eastern Ukraine.
The uncertainty has shaken international retailers looking to move into the Russian market.