Apple Raises Prices in Russian App Store Amidst Ruble Meltdown

Apple has raised the price of apps in the Russian App Store in the midst of a meltdown in the value of the Russian ruble. The move follows Apple's decision earlier in the week to stop selling iPhones in Russia because of the volatility.

Ruble Chart

Russian Ruble in U.S. Dollars 1-Year Chart
Source: Bloomberg

9to5Mac reported that Apple notified developers of the change through the Developer connection. The starting price for apps (that aren't free) is now 62 rubles, almost twice what it was previously.

As shown in the chart above, the ruble has lost some 20 percent of its value in just the last month, dropping from US$0.02135 to $0.01692. Over the course of the year, it's lost almost 40 percent of its value.

The losses stem from the drop in the price of oil—the Russian economy and the Kremlin's budget are both very dependent on oil revenues. Oil prices have plunged due to a variety of reasons tied to supply, demand, and international politics, weakening confidence in the Russian economy.

That, in turn, has an effect on companies like Apple selling product in Russia. On the hardware side, Apple must be able to get enough dollars from the rubles they get for an iPhone to pay for manufacturing and earn a profit comparable to the rest of the world. With extreme volatility, it's very difficult to meet that goal.

On the software side, Apple has to protect both its own operational costs, but also the money that developers earn for their apps. The blunt reality is that Apple has more leeway on that front because there is less money at stake, and Apple isn't paying for the development costs associated with making the app.

In the meanwhile, Russian Apple customers are being confronted by significantly higher costs. With less buying power, Russian consumers will no doubt be purchasing fewer apps, continuing the ripple effect throughout the economy.