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Apple has halted online sales on all off its products in Russia due to fluctuations in that country’s currency. This is one of the clearest signs sign of how the currency’s swings are having an effect on international businesses.
The Ruble has been in free-fall over the past few days with the currency down by as much as 19% just today, with a surprise interest rate increase failing to stem a run on the currency. That in turn saw Apple stop sales from its web store.
“Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” Alan Hely, a spokesman for the Cupertino, California-based company, wrote in an email today. “We apologize to customers for any inconvenience.”
The sell-off 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.
Last month Apple tried to find ways around the ruble’s fluctuations by increasing the price of the iPhone 6 by 25% in Russia. The halt of sales from the online store means that Apple, except for Russian carriers and retailers that sell Apple products, has no presence in Russia. The company doesn’t have any of its own stores in the country.
Russia sales make up a small part of Apple’s market for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Last year iPhone sales doubled in Russia to 1.57 million units, bringing in US$1-billion, according to researcher IDC. In total, Apple shipped 153.4-million iPhones in 2013.
This year through September, iPhone shipments in Russia rose to 1.9-million.
Up until late November, Apple had not increased iPhone prices in Russia, and the price for an iPhone in the country was Europe’s lowest at about US$700. This saw tourists from other countries buying iPhones in the BRICS giant.
Then in late November, according to Apple’s online store in the country, Apple boosted the price of an iPhone 6 with 16 gigabytes of storage to 39 990 rubles compared with a previous price of 31 990 rubles.