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RUB: further in the black


Yesterday’s session brought few surprises. Crude oil continued to recover with Brent firming another 2.3% to USD 61.2/bbl. In light of this, RUB and other commodity-linked currencies enjoyed decent bids. In particular, NOK gained 0.7% against USD, while AUD and NZD advanced near 0.6%; however, NGN lagged having closed 0.8% in the red vs. USD. Meanwhile, the EM FX index ended 0.1% stronger against USD. At the end of the day, USDRUB settled at 62.5, i.e. RUB appreciated 1.1%. However, the session was by no means a one-way trade, since in the morning USDRUB opened at 63.00, fell to 62.20 in the middle of the day and then quickly bounced back up to 63.20 just a couple of hours before the closing bell. We think the bid in USDRUB was likely due to two differing factors. On the one hand, it is likely being driven by the partial profit-taking on long RUB positions, as Brent showed a remarkable and quick recovery, while perhaps also some long USDRUB trades opened last year are being unwound. On the other hand, we suppose many market participants are continuing to stick with the ‘buy the dips strategy’ on concerns about the current geopolitical risks. Thus, different views can dominate the market concurrently, which fuels additional volatility, given the market’s still relatively fragile liquidity (yesterday’s turnover in USDRUB was just USD 3.7bn). Separately, we highlight that the CBR provided USD 1.7bn at one-week FX repo yesterday, up from the USD 1.3bn secured last week. Hence, the total debt of banks to the regulator under the FX repo window is to increase USD 4.6bn today to USD 26.4bn. In light of this, we noted that already yesterday the spread between overnight FX swap and RUONIA narrowed visibly, leaving the alarming range.

Maxim Korovin, Tatiana Zueva
VTB Capital analysts


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