RUB: trading activity remains subdued
USDRUB turnover on the MICEX was just USD 3.9bn yesterday. Compared to Monday, we noted lower selling interest from exporters. In light of this, RUB lost near 3.2% against USD and closed at 65.21. During the session, Brent oil traded 1.5-2.0% lower, scratching 45.00, which was the key pressuring factor for the Russian FX market. However, by the end of the day, Brent had recovered to close only 0.3% in red, at USD 46.3/bbl. Meanwhile, NOK slipped just 0.2%, while NGN closed 1.2% down. Other commodity-based currencies traded heavy as well. On the other hand, EM FX index firmed 0.1-0.2% vs. USD: in particular, MXN was up 0.3%, while BRL surged 1.2%. Crude oil market dynamics are the key factor for RUB, in our view: without their stabilisation, RUB remains vulnerable. However, the tax period starts tomorrow, with the most important day being 26 January, when VAT and MET fall due. Yesterday, banks secured USD 381.8mn from CBR in the 7-day FX repo auction at average rate of 0.81%. Total FX repo volume picked up to USD 20.8bn.
Maxim Korovin, Tatiana Zueva
VTB Capital analyst
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