© By Geoffrey Smith Investing.com — The Russian Central Bank said it will lower the surcharge imposed on retail foreign exchange purchases through brokers to 12% from 30%, in order to ease the draconian restrictions it imposed over the past week. refine to defend the . In a statement, the CBR said the 12% surcharge also applies to companies that transact through brokers. The central bank had imposed new regulations on Thursday to halt the flow of foreign exchange demand as the ruble plummeted against the euro and dollar in response to Western sanctions. The ruble has fallen to a succession of lows this week and has now lost nearly half of its value against the dollar this year. By mid-morning in Moscow on Friday, the dollar was up another 3.1% to 109.41, although that’s still below Thursday’s 24-year high of 118.28. The central bank has frozen most of its $643 billion in foreign reserves under sanctions imposed by the US, EU, UK and Japan. As a result, it has relatively little capacity to defend the ruble against the kind of run going on in Russia all week, with long lines at bank branches and ATMs across the country. FX brokers, a common feature of Russian high streets, had initially provided ordinary citizens with a way to bypass the 30% surcharge that banks had immediately imposed in an effort to halt outflows. That loophole is now closed. Separately, the CBR closed the Moscow stock exchanges for the fifth day in a row on Friday. That led to an announcement by Nasdaq-listed Yandex (NASDAQ:), Russia’s largest Internet services company, that it is standing on its dollar debt. Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data on this website is not necessarily real-time or accurate. All CFDs (Stocks, Indices, Futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and therefore prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price meaning prices are indicative and not suitable for trading purposes . Therefore, Fusion Media does not bear any responsibility for any trading losses that you may incur as a result of using this data. Fusion Media or anyone associated with Fusion Media accepts no liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any information, including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals on this website. Be fully informed about the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest forms of investment possible.