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Apple closes its online store in Russia as the ruble continues to drop in value

Apple has temporarily closed its online store in Russia as the international community reacts to the rapid decrease in value of the ruble.

While the Russian currency has been falling for months now, earlier this week saw the ruble hit by its biggest drop in 16 years.

Read more: Google buckles under pressure, shuts down Russian operations

Its value dropped by approximately 19 per cent over a 24-hour period on Monday, partly as a result of international sanctions imposed on Russia. Reductions in the global value of natural gas and oil have also contributed to the country’s inflation problems.

While Russian sales make up only a small proportion of Apple’s market, the decision to suspend online sales shows how the ruble crisis is affecting global businesses. According to an IDC report, just 1.57 million out of 153.4 million iPhone units were sold in Russia during 2013.

In an email to Bloomberg, company spokesperson Alan Hely confirmed the closure.

“Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” he said. “We apologize to customers for any inconvenience.”

There have been fluctuations in the value of the ruble previously, but this is the first time Apple has had to shut down online transactions. The company did increase iPhone prices by 25 per cent last month however.

The Russian economy has been hit hard by economic sanctions put in place in response to the country’s illegal military activity in Ukraine.

Read more: iPod trial verdict is in: Apple not guilty

The Russian government has attempted to restore faith in the ruble by pushing up interest rates, but so far thbarcis has had only a limited impact.

Image Credit: Egor Federov

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.