RUB started yesterday’s trading session on a stronger footing as crude continued its recovery. During the day, Brent traded as high as USD 58.50/bbl, before eventually closing 0.6% lower at USD 57.2/bbl. In the morning, USDRUB moved down to 65.25, driven by export-selling flow. Later it moved up to 66.25, eventually closing at 65.79, meaning that RUB had firmed 1.6% vs. USD on the day. Elsewhere, NOK advanced 0.2%, while NGN ended 1.1% down. The EM FX index ended flat, with ZAR weakening 0.7%. RUB has therefore continued outperforming its EM FX peers: we estimate the performance gap between RUB and the EM FX index has narrowed to some 6.3% YTD from nearly 10% at the beginning of last week. The only thing to spoil yesterday’s session was the low trading flow: total USDRUB turnover was only USD 3.5bn. We believe it is possible that many market participants have opted for a wait-and-see approach in order to mitigate the risks of negative geopolitical swings this week. Tomorrow, a new round of ‘Normandy Format’ talks on Ukraine starts in Minsk. In our view, in the absence of negative surprises from Minsk, the USDRUB would move down farther, exploring the 60-63 range.