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Local sovereign debt: on a stronger footing


On Friday, OFZs continued trading in the black. At the end of the day, RFLB 28 (YTM 12.40%) closed 0.75pp higher, while bonds on the belly ended just a tad stronger. Overall, the curve moved down 15-20bp in the long end and 5-10bp on the belly. However, we highlight that trading volumes were rather thin and the bonds moved almost in the absence of actual deals. Meanwhile, the market ignored the surprise January jump in CPI (see story below). Headline CPI soared to 15% YoY in January, surprising the market by a wide margin. The impact from RUB depreciation was the main driver and it looks as though both i) the path of the FX pass-through is more front-loaded and ii) its magnitude is larger than we expected. In light of the latter, we now expect the CPI to peak around 17% in March-April, before moderating back to 11% by the year-end. Given the uncertainty related to the magnitude of the FX pass-through, we see upside risks to these forecasts. We believe the CBR is likely to take a pause over the next couple of months to reassess its inflation and policy outlook. In addition, compared with other EM local sovereign debt markets, long OFZs look slightly expensive, in our view, unless one pencils in a shift of medium-term inflation expectations lower.

Maxim Korovin, Tatiana Zueva
VTB Capital analysts


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