Rouble firms past 60 vs dollar despite eased capital controls -Breaking
(Reuters) – The Russian rouble climbed Wednesday, surpassing 60 dollars per dollar despite Russia’s decision not to tighten capital controls. Also, there are expectations that a central bank meeting will reduce the interest rate.
Due to capital controls, artificially high commodity prices, and support by Russia’s main exports, the rouble is now the best performing currency in the world.
The rouble had gained 2.2% against the dollar at 1211 GMT. It was 59.66 on Moscow Exchange. This leaves it in a narrow range of 60.0-62.5, which was after dramatic swings in May.
The euro was beaten by it more than 33%.
After Russia sent thousands of troops to Ukraine in February 24, the rouble did not react to Russia’s decision of easing capital controls.
Russia permitted export-oriented firms to make forex transfers to foreign accounts in Russia, weeks after it reached a five-year peak against the euro.
The central bank increased the threshold for trans-border transactions of individuals at the same time. Russian residents as well as non-residents of “friendly states” will now be permitted to transfer abroad up to $150,000 per month. That’s an increase of the $50,000 limit.
Evgeny Suprov, CentroCreditBank’s economist said that “the rouble rates are still determined mainly by the trade balance. The situation isn’t really changing. Exports continue to be relatively high while imports have fallen.”
Sberbank CIB noted that the rouble will continue to strengthen despite the ease of capital controls. This is especially true as we get closer to the month’s end, when foreigners will ramp up their hard currency exports.”
Lower interest rates may put some downward pressure on the Russian rouble. Reuters polled most analysts and found that they expect a cut of 100 basis points to 10% in the rate. This is because the bank wants to reduce lending costs amid slow consumer demand, low inflation, and a pause.
Russia’s sovereign debt obligations, sanctions and Russia’s continued efforts to resolve them remain at the forefront of attention.
Last week, the European Union agreed to a sixth set of sanctions on Moscow in response to what Moscow calls its “special military operations” in Ukraine. This includes phasing out Russian petroleum and seaborne products imports in 6-8 months.
Russian stock indexes increased.
RTS, a dollar-denominated index, rose by 4% to 1,227.3 point. MOEX Russian, which is based on roubles, rose 1.4% to 2,323.5 point.