On Friday, the Russian FX market kicked off on a stronger footing despite mounting pressure on EM FX in general and the still lacklustre performance of the crude market. By mid-day, USDRUB dropped to 60.70. However, at the end of the day RUB retreated, as the Brent price had slipped to USD 53.8/bbl (-4.5%). In the light of this, USDRUB closed at 62.23, i.e. RUB weakened 1.5%. Meanwhile, NOK declined 1.3% and the EM FX index fell around 1.1-1.6% with TRY closing down 2.1%, BRL lost 2.6% and ZAR was 1.5% in the red. In our view, investor focus on the Russian exchange market is set to switch more to the performance of the crude oil market, as Brent's price dipped below USD 55/bbl. On the other hand, we are entering the tax period with the heaviest payments (VAT, MET) due next week. Subsequently, the increased export selling flow could provide a certain support for the RUB.