As the week drew to a close, the Russian Ruble was in line to record its most impressive run of 5-day advances against the US Dollar for nine months. The tentative ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine and climbing oil prices lent the Russian currency support, so the Ruble was able to advance to 61.884 against the US Dollar. Oil prices rose to nearly 60 Dollars per barrel after moving away from the recent 2015 high of 62 Dollars per barrel.
According to locally-based industry expert Vitaly Isakov; ‘The Ruble’s strengthening continues largely due to the positive dynamic in the price of oil and hopes for progress in Ukraine. Market participants were too bearish on the Ruble at the start of the year and are now adjusting their forecasts.’ That being said, the price of oil has since edged back down to around 51 Dollars per barrel, ending a three-week rally. Investment officer Vladimir Vedeneev also noted; ‘All news are priced into the Russian market. In order for the growth to continue, we need to see either strong signs about a speedy removal of sanctions or an extension of the rise in the oil price.’
The US Dollar to Russian Ruble exchange rate was trading in the region of 61.8355 on Friday as the ‘Greenback’ continued to be pressured lower by this week’s slightly dovish Federal Open Market Committee policy meeting minutes. The expectation that today’s US Markit Manufacturing PMI will disappoint, and show a decline in output, also wore on the US Dollar.
Next week the only Russian report to be aware of is the nation’s growth figure, due out on Thursday. Investors with an interest in the Russian Ruble will also be keeping an eye on geopolitical developments (including any further twists in the Greek debt saga) and commodity-price shifts. Additionally, as further below-forecast US reports would add to the argument in favour of the Federal Reserve leaving interest rates on hold for longer (a circumstance which would support higher risk and emerging market currencies), US news could also influence Ruble movement.