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Volatile Rouble Attempts Recovery

by Carl Steward
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Close-up view of Russian rubles. Five thousand banknotes.Volatile Rouble Attempts Recovery

In topsy-turvy trade on Monday, the rouble recovered from its lowest level since late January, aiming to recover from its worst decline in nearly two years on Friday, as Russia urged further diplomacy over European security worries.

Moscow has rejected growing Western worries of an impending invasion of Ukraine as hysteria and has denied any intentions to invade. On Monday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged President Vladimir Putin that Moscow keep up its diplomatic efforts.

The rouble gained 0.8 percent against the dollar during a tumultuous day; it bounced from 78.29, a level last seen on January 28, to as high as 75.93. On the back of the Ukraine conflict, the rouble fell to a near 15-month low of 80.4125 last month.

It had recovered some of those losses in recent weeks, reaching its highest level since early 2022 on Thursday before plummeting again on Friday as the US advised all of its people to leave Ukraine within 48 hours.

“It makes sense to minimize risks associated with Russia and to refrain from making any active actions with Russian assets until the possibility of a military scenario has passed,” said Evgeny Suvorov, a CentroCreditBank economist.

The rouble gained 1.1 percent against the euro to 86.62, falling to its lowest level since January 27 of 88.6950. Dollar-denominated government bonds in Ukraine and Russia failed to their lowest crisis levels thus far. The benchmark 10-year rouble-denominated OFZ bonds yielded 10.17 percent, the highest level since February 2016. Yields move in the opposite direction of prices.

Essential Support

The rouble is subject to geopolitical uncertainties. However, it is backed by Russia’s record significant current account surplus, fueled by high commodity prices. The central bank’s monetary tightening bolster,

Last week, Russia raised its benchmark interest rate to 9.5 percent and hinted that further hikes were on the way.

A global benchmark for Russia’s primary export, Brent crude oil was down 0.6 percent at $93.84 per barrel after hitting a seven-year high earlier.

Since late January, the Russian stock market indices have dropped to their lowest level. The RTS index, denominated in dollars, was down 2.2 percent at 1,437.8 points. The MOEX Russian index, based on the rouble, is down 1.5 percent at 3,492.0 points.

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