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RUB: slightly weaker, yet in line with other EM FX peers

On Friday, RUB gave near 0.3% both to BASKET (40.41) and the US dollar (34.76). In the first half of the session, RUB traded on a stronger footing; however, the publication of US jobs data fuelled some volatility in global markets. Hence, nonfarm payroll employment rose 113k in January, falling short of market expectations of 185k (which is in fact close to the monthly average of the last 12 months). Net revisions to the previous 2 months’ data was 34k. On the other hand, the unemployment rate fell to 6.6% from 6.7%, within spitting distance of the 6.5% ‘threshold’ amid the slightly increased labour participation rate to 63.0% from 62.8%. Despite the softer-than-expected statistics, S&P500 closed 1.3% in the black on Friday (+0.4% for the week), while the yield on 10-year USTs tightened near 2bp on Friday to 2.68%, but still climbed up 10bp vs. Monday. Overall, RUB traded in line with peers such as ZAR and TRY on Friday, which saw equal pressure on Friday. Nevertheless, many EM currencies actually closed a little bit stronger against the US dollar, as did commodity-based FX such as NOK and NZD, which gained about 0.6% vs. USD. This week, we might see an increase of hard currency selling from exporters ahead of tax payments, which kick off on 17 February.
Maxim Korovin, Anton Nikitin
VTB Capital analyst


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