Ruble notes
A person holds Russian rouble notes in St. Petersburg December 18, 2008.Reuters

The Russian rouble has hit a new record low against the dollar – just a day after it began to steady.

It reached an all-time low of 42 roubles to the dollar on 24 October, according to the Moscow Exchange, with investors and analysts contemplating a potential downgrade from Standard & Poor's.

It suggests that efforts in Moscow to steady the currency have been in vain. Over the course of October $16bn (£10bn, €12.6bn) in foreign reserves has been sold by the Russian Central Bank in an effort to prop up the rouble, with a further $50bn to be pumped into the banking sector over the 12 months beginning in November.

The rouble also tanked against the euro. It now costs more than 53 roubles to buy one euro for the first time, with the Russian Finance Minister calling for a contingency budget for 2015 to 2017, highlighting the dark clouds hanging over Russia's mid-term economic future.

"In case external conditions remain so complicated as today then we have to have a back-up version with which obligations and expenditures we can do without," Anton Siluanov told Russian publication RIA Novosti.

The currency is plunging on the back of western sanctions on Russia, which have banned companies in which the government holds a stake of 50% or more from raising capital on the European markets. It has sparked panic over Russia's highly-leveraged corporate sector. Companies frequently tap EU bond and trade finance markets, with many of these loans due to mature over the coming 12 months.

The tumbling oil prices have compounded this issue, with Russia heavily reliant on crude exports. The lack of diversity has been borne out in abysmal levels of investment in non-energy sectors by the Russian government in recent years. Even including oil, Russia's investment rate was just 20% of GDP in 2013.

Standard & Poor's is set to adjudicate over Russia's sovereign rating later on 24 October, but Siluanov has dismissed "exaggerated" rumours of a downgrade.