People walk past money exchange offices in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 .(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Russia's falling rouble is hitting Western European corporate giants such as PSA Peugeot Citroen, Henkel AG and Carlsberg A/S on its way down, further undermining operations under strain because of the country's stagnant economy. With the currency now at a record low against the euro and dollar, companies that have bet heavily on Russia are finding that the plunge makes it costlier for local factories to import supplies and parts, increases prices for customers and reduces the foreign-currency value of any profits they manage to generate. Russia's central bank has spent at least $1.68 billion of its reserves to defend the rouble since Oct. 3, official figures show.Foreign companies looking to sell products to Russia's middle class would be struggling even without the currency drop.In August the company said the rouble's weakness would shave about 4 percentage points off its 2014 operating profit margin, which was 10.1 percent last year.To keep Russian customers loyal, Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd. Tuesday said it would freeze its rouble prices until the end of the year.Few foreign companies will give up on Russia.
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