Russia's central bank says it will no longer spend billions of dollars each month trying to prevent further declines in the ruble and allow the currency to float as the market dictates.
The announcement from the Bank of Russia Monday comes as the central bank has been eating through its hard currency reserves, spending $30 billion last month alone in a desperate bid to prop up the ruble.
The ruble strengthened sharply on the news, trading up 3.6 percent at around 45 rubles a dollar in midday trading Monday, after hitting a record low of nearly 48 rubles a dollar last week.
The bank had planned to let the ruble trade freely starting next year.
Financial analysts say Western sanctions and falling oil prices have pressured Russia's economy.