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RUB: roller-coaster


Friday’s price action in the Russian exchange market was rather jittery. In the morning, USDRUB spiked to 48.50, but at these levels RUB found some support as market participants were taking profits amid growing expectations that the CBR would take action against excessive pressure on RUB. The latter feelings were supported by the news that the CBR governor had a meeting, although its topic was unspecified. In light of this, USDRUB dropped from 48.50 to 46.00 (i.e. RUB appreciated 5.4% intraday). Yet, the Russian currency again failed to secure the gains, so in the end RUB lost near 0.25% against USD (46.72). In the evening, the CBR issued a statement about the situation on the exchange market. Overall, the regulator views the current pressure on the FX market as excessive and thinks it carries risks to financial stability. Hence, the CBR said that it was prepared to increase FX interventions at any time. In our view, market participants were disappointed by this statement, because we think the time of verbal interventions is past. Thus, RUB’s evening weakening was a result of people’s desire to go over the weekend with a long USDRUB position given the absence of any ad hoc FX interventions by the CBR. Overall, we continue to think that the main pressure on RUB is coming from retail demand, while other market participants are likely more or less positioned flat. In particular, the continued narrowing of the basis swap spread highlights that there is not currently an issue with US dollar liquidity.

Maxim Korovin, Tatyana Zueva
VTB Capital analyst

ruble, CBR

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