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The Briefcase: Rouble the new lira, a banking inquiry and the Metro Herald is kaput

This was the week in business.

Russian president Vladimir Putin Russian president Vladimir Putin Source: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/Press Association Images

EVERY WEEKEND, TheJournal.ie asks its readers to put their feet up and take a look back at all the goings-on from the world of business.

So once again it’s time to delve deep inside The Briefcase for all the important – and sometimes less-important – financial news that has come out this working week:

Briefcase Train Layout Source: Orin Zebest

Need to know

The rouble is the new lira

A “perfect storm” of plummeting oil prices, Western sanctions and the general Europe-wide economic malaise has sent the poor old rouble skidding over the past year – and into free-fall in the last month.

The Russian currency lost 20% in one day – even after the the country’s central bank hiked interest rates overnight a massive 6.5% to 17% in a bid to put the brakes on rampant inflation.

That problem has already led to everything from Apple closing its online store for the country to people, somewhat ironically, stocking up on US dollars and reports of locals panic-buying food staples.

Russia Economy Source: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP/Press Association Images

The country has already shelled out about $80 billion in foreign cash this year trying to shore up its currency by buying it on the international markets. But that wasn’t enough, hence the central bank’s last, extreme move.

And with that move came a blunt message from the official lender’s chief, Elvira Nabiullina – basically telling the country to “suck it up”.

Russia Central Bank Russian president Vladimir Putin with Nabiullina Source: Ivan Sekretarev/AP/Press Association Images

But the rouble’s woes had markets getting skittish all over the place from the knock-on effects, which included Switzerland setting a negative interest rate for some deposits after the Russian currency crisis herded investors into the safe-haven Swiss franc.

None of that apparently bothered the good folks who responded to a poll from the Public Opinion Foundation, who named Putin “Man of the Year” for the 15th time in a row.

Some 68% said he was the most deserving politician to take the title, according to Russia Today, beating the second-highest contingent on 17% – those who found the question too hard to answer.

Laughing Animated GIF Source: Giphy

Nice to know

MetroHerald 19/11/2014 Source: Photocall Ireland

Now you know

Mrs Brown Source: Tumblr

  • Irish Water could punch a big hole in the government’s budget, according to economic think-tank ESRI. That’s because the quango was making less money on its water charges – and would have to be propped up with more spending. There was also the chance it wouldn’t meet the European Commission’s market test, especially with the number of people saying they wouldn’t pay at all
  • Iconic Dublin chipper Leo Burdock’s launched a €50,000 crowd-lending campaign to expand its Temple Bar outlet. The 101-year-old fish and chip chain is running the scheme, which allows anyone to offer the company on loan for interest of between 5% and 15%, through Linked Finance

Fish and Chip Shops Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

One for the road

For many, the words “gripping” and “podcast” would rarely be found rubbing shoulders in the same sentence. Until the true-crime thriller Serial appeared courtesy of the people at This American Life, that is.

Ahead of the release this week of its 12th and final episode, the people at Funny or Die worked up this glorious parody – in which the show’s producer, Sarah Koenig, desperately tries to come up with an ending.

Oh, there’s a nice dig about email marketing firm MailChimp in there as well.

Originally published 20 December

READ: Sony woes, Nama (nearly) called the C-word and Heineken frothing >

READ: A northern Ireland tax showdown, Nama plans and UTV everywhere >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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