Move over ¥, $, £ and €, the Russian ruble is getting a sign of its own. The news comes as the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has announced the winner of the voting on its website for a currency sign. According to the CBR, the winning graphic is based on the letter P of the Cyrillic alphabet (unlike the Latin alphabet, the letter has an R sound in the Cyrillic alphabet), with the additional horizontal line on the bottom “giving the appearance of the presence of two parallel lines that symbolizes the strong position of the Russian ruble” (Google Translate). Despite being a currency since the 1500’s, this is the first time that the ruble will be receiving an official sign.
Although one could argue that a currency sign is little more than a distinguishing mark, and even new kids on the block, bitcoin and litecoin (as well as other alt-coins) have their own signs. In the case of the ruble, the timing occurs as the country has been revamping its capital markets and banking systems to better place itself as a major financial hub in Asia. This was seen earlier in the year with Moscow Exchange’s IPO and subsequent launch of additional Chinese yuan denominated products, as well as consolidation of its regulatory supervisory bodies under the CBR as a ‘mega-regulator’. For the CBR, the launch of a ruble sign shortly after it became the country’s main financial regulator body can be described as a symbolic gesture that represents their new powers. As a BRIC, the sign may also be expected to provide the ruble with greater identity among other emerging market currencies.
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