Souvenir matryoshka dolls depicting Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump, sit on display at a tourist stall in the city center in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

U.S. Told Russian Embassy No New Sanctions Due Soon, Russia Says

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(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration notified Russia’s U.S. embassy in Washington Sunday that it has no plans to impose any further sanctions soon, according to a Foreign Ministry official.

Conflicting signals from Washington over its plans have sent markets gyrating in recent days. When official Russian news agencies reported the U.S. notification Wednesday, the ruble flipped from being the worst performing emerging-market currency to the best in the first hour of trading in Moscow. Ten-year ruble debt erased declines, climbing for a third day before the Finance Ministry plans to sell bonds after axing an auction last week for the first time since 2015.

The latest back-and-forth began Sunday, when U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the Treasury would announce new sanctions soon targeting Russian companies linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program. The following day, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump halted the plan.

The Foreign Ministry official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. The official wouldn’t specify who on the U.S. side had given the notification.

Tuesday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters that “additional sanctions are under consideration” though he said Haley had “got ahead of the curve” by discussing them publicly.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian tycoons and companies earlier this month, the most punitive measures since it first slapped economic penalties on Russia four years ago over the Ukrainian conflict. One of Russia’s most powerful businessmen, billionaire Oleg Deripaska, was hit hardest and shares of his aluminum giant Rusal have plunged about 70 percent in Hong Kong since the U.S. basically banned the company from the dollar economy.

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