MOSCOW -- Russia's Central Bank raised its interest rate overnight in a desperate attempt to prop up its ailing currency, the ruble.
The hike of 6.5 percent, from 10.5 percent to 17 percent, is the biggest since Russia went into economic meltdown in 1998.
It's the second increase from the Central Bank in the last week, reports CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata, and it's a worrying sign that President Vladimir Putin is losing control of Russia's economy.
It may say something about the urgency that this decision was announced at 1 a.m. local time. Certainly something had to be done to stop the ruble's free fall before markets opened in the morning.
The ruble has taken a battering this year, losing half of its value against the dollar on the back of crushing Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine and the plunging price of oil, which along with gas accounts for 70 percent of the country's exports.
Russia hopes the emergency hike will curb the depreciation of the ruble by making it more expensive for currency traders to buy rubles and sell them on the market. The depreciation is seen as a vote of international no-confidence in the Kremlin's economic policies.
Russia economic growth is at rock bottom, and for the first time since the global downturn of 2008, this year has seen capital leeching from the country as businesses find somewhere safer to put their money.
The ruble traded at 58 per dollar at market opening on Tuesday, making up much of the ground lost after a 10 percent drop on Monday. But experts think this will be a temporary reprieve.