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RUB: stronger than peers

Yesterday, RUB kicked off lower with USDRUB picking up to 47.21 in the morning. However, the market later recovered, encouraged perhaps by crude’s firmer performance (although it pared later). Nonetheless, RUB closed flat against US (46.86). In the meantime, the general performance of EM FX was sluggish: TRY slipped 0.6% against USD together with KRW and MXN (the average index slipped 0.2-0.3%). In addition, yesterday NOK and other commodity based currencies weakened near 0.8-1.0%. Hence, RUB strengthened 0.5% against EM FX peers, yet it still lags by around 26% YTD. Meanwhile, trading activity remained subdued, with yesterday’s MICEX total turnover in the FX spot market equal to USD 3.3bn. Overall, we think combined trading flows (i.e. MICEX, EBS and OTC)  in USDRUB are down by about a half on the average numbers just a couple of months ago. Persistent excessive volatility was likely one of the main factors behind the deterioration of FX spot liquidity. Meanwhile, we highlight that companies pay VAT today, so relatively low trade volumes suggest that exporters continue not selling hard currency in the market
Maxim Korovin, Tatiana Zueva
VTB Capital analysts

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