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Apple Stops Online Sales in Russia Over Ruble Fluctuations

Apple Inc. has halted online sales in Russia due to “extreme” ruble fluctuations, the company said.

“Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” Alan Hely, a spokesman for the Cupertino, California-based company, said today in an e-mailed statement. “We apologize to customers for any inconvenience.”

Apple has been working to deal with the ruble swings in other ways. Last month, the company increased the price of the iPhone 6 by 25 percent in Russia.

Russia’s currency lost as much as 19 percent today, with a surprise interest-rate increase failing to stem the run on the currency. The ruble sank beyond 80 per dollar, and bonds and stocks also tumbled, with the RTS equity gauge dropping the most since 2008.

The selloff in Moscow is spreading across the globe, prompting nervous investors to pull money from other developing nations amid concern that Russia’s financial struggles and the tumble in oil signal a global economic slowdown.

Apple closely monitors currencies, with Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri telling analysts on Oct. 20 that while the strengthening U.S. dollar had little effect on the company’s results during the quarter that ended Sept. 27, it’s “becoming a significant headwind” in the current period

“It’s a fact of life if the U.S. dollar strengthens, that creates a headwind for us both in revenue and margins for our business outside of the United States,” he said. “We have a comprehensive hedging program in place that mitigates the impact of foreign exchange. Over time, of course, these hedges roll off and get replaced by new hedges at new spot levels, and so the protection that you get from a hedging program is temporary.”