Storskog border checkpoint. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Ruble slides to 2-years low vs krone, cross-border shopping down

One Norwegian krone was traded at 8,1 rubles Tuesday morning. Cross-border traffic between Murmansk and Kirkenes is now at its lowest since 2012.
August 14, 2018

Grocery stores in Norway are becoming more expensive for people in Murmansk driving across the border to get European cheese or Norwegian seafood, no longer available in Russian supermarkets after the government’s self-imposed EU food import ban.

On Tuesday morning, one Norwegian krone was traded at 8,14 rubles, its highest level since June 2016. Threats of new U.S. sanctions, and the collapse of the Turkish lira, are blamed to be the reasons for the sliding Russian currency.

Russia’s Central Bank says it is willing to intervene in the currency markets if the volatility continues to rock the exchange rates too much.

One Euro now costs 77,65 rubles, negatively affecting cross-border shopping to Finland as well.    

Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Latest statistics from the police in charge of immigration at the Norwegian-Russian border given to the Barents Observer, shows a drop in traffic by 5,9% in July compared with the same month in 2017. Not since 2012 have so few people crossed the border in July.

19,764 border crossings were counted last month.

Despite a drop in traffic over the last few years, July traffic this year was twice as high as in 2009 when 8,382 crossings took place.

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Also, with a 145,344 border crossings over the first seven months this year, the number of people is already more than in entire 2010 when 140,885 crossings were counted by immigration officials at Storskog. 

Falling value of the ruble, though, is good news for Norwegians driving to the Russian border town of Nikel to fill petrol. A liter of petrol is now about 47 rubles, just a bit more than one third of the price in Norway.

Norwegian cars line up at Rosneft’s gas station in Nikel. Archive photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

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