On Friday, RUB continued trading on a softer footing. At the end of the day, RUB weakened around 0.2% against USD (41.81) and about 0.3% vs. BASKET (46.81). However, during the session, sentiment in the FX market was a lot more bearish, yet it improved after S&P affirmed the Russian sovereign rating at BBB-. Nevertheless, USDRUB touched 42.00 during the day, while BASKET traded as high as 47.05. Hence, the CBR shifted the operational band up 35 kopecks, implying near USD 2.5bn in FX interventions. Meanwhile, EM FX traded stronger at the end of last week having firmed near 0.2–0.3% vs. USD — specifically, ZAR and TRY advanced around 0.2–0.4%. Overall, RUB’s underperformance vs. EM FX is approaching 20% YTD. This morning, RUB opened under pressure near the CBR’s offer on BASKET’s level. We suppose that the initial bid is coming primarily from banks covering shorts in FX positions accumulated over the weekend. Nevertheless, we highlight that the CBR is conducting two FX repo auctions this week, which could offer some support to the FX spot market. On the other hand, despite the ongoing tax payments, the hard currency offer from exporters is below our expectations, which leads market participants to chase the CBR’s offer.