Belarus' ruble takes a hit, hurt by Russia's economic woes

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MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The currency of Belarus is taking a sharp hit, falling about 5 percent in one day as its giant neighbor Russia is battered by economic troubles.

The former Soviet republic has retained a strongly centralized economy whose relative inflexibility has inhibited development. Belarus is also heavily reliant on Russia, where the currency has fallen in recent days amid lower prices for oil, its key export.

Although the Russian ruble recovered slightly Tuesday, the Belarusian National Bank set the exchange rate for its ruble 5 percent lower Tuesday than on Monday.

The Belarus economy has contracted 4 percent in the first seven months of this year.

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