The ruble plummeted into a freefall, losing as much as 19percent as panic swept across Russian financial markets after asurprise interest-rate increase failed to stem the run on thecurrency.

The ruble plunged to as weak as 80.10 per dollar, a record low,before trading at 72.90 by 5:18 p.m. in Moscow, as Russiansscrambled to convert their money into dollars amid concern thegovernment will implement currency controls to slow the outflows.Bonds fell as the RTS stock index tumbled the most in almost sixyears. Government officials will gather to discuss the financialcrisis engulfing the country.

“I am speechless,” Jean-David Haddad, an emerging-marketstrategist at OTCex Group in Paris, said in a message. “What afailure for the central bank. Russia would need to announce capitalcontrols today. That is the last solution.”

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