Ruble Strengthens Against Dollar And Gazprom Rallies

On Tuesday, Moscow trading saw the Russian ruble gain against the US dollar beyond 60, as it shrugged off a fall in oil prices below the $100 mark.

Meanwhile, there was also a rise in the benchmark index in Russia to its highest level in two months, thanks to a rally in energy giant Gazprom.

Ruble gains

The Russian currency ended about 0.7% stronger against the euro at a value of 60.0, while it also strengthened against the US dollar by 0.8% to reach 59.94.

Light trading saw the Russian ruble gain, even though analysts had predicted that the currency could weaken because the peak of the tax payments period at the month’s end had passed last week.

This is when export companies in Russia convert their foreign currencies into rubles, thereby pushing up demand for the currency.

For most of August, the currency has been hovering close to 60 against the US dollar. The volatility seen in the currency in March, when it dropped to a low of 121.53, has come to an end.

This occurred after Russia sent its troops into Ukraine. The ruble had also recorded a massive rally in June, which saw it reach 50.01 against the greenback.

Currency movements

This year has seen the Russian ruble take the title of being the best performing currency in the world. This was partly because of the capital controls that the Russian central bank imposed for halting a mass sell-off.

It also helped Russia in preventing an economic meltdown that had been predicted. Market analysts said that the movements in the national currency depend on fundamental factors.

These include the balance of payments of the country. The current account surplus of Russia has almost tripled in the first seven months to reach $166.6 billion.

This is because of a rise in revenues from energy exports, while imports have plunged due to Western sanctions.

Russian stocks

The MOEX Russian index based on the ruble recorded gains of 0.5% to reach 2,306.6 points after it had touched a peak two months earlier at 2,314.53 points.

The RTS index, which is dollar-based, recorded gains of 1.2%, which saw it climb up to 1,212.1 points. Market analysts said that the Russian stock market is likely to gain because Western negative cannot hurt it.

The oil market has proven to be quite supportive, as Brent is expected to stay above the $100/barrel mark in the short-term, but there would be volatility.

A major Russian export, Brent crude oil saw a 6.5% drop in its price, which hit $98.32 per barrel, even though it began the session at its strongest level in about a month.

There was also a strong rise in Gazprom’s shares by almost 7.4%, as flows via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany were scheduled to stop on August 31st.

Tech giant Yandex also saw its Moscow-listed shares record 4% gains, after the anti-monopoly service in Russia approved its deal with competitor VK for swapping assets.

By Brandon Craig
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