15 December 2020
Anna Zaitseva, analyst, FINAM Group
Last week, the strengthening of the Russian ruble continued: the USD / RUB rate dropped by 1.5% to the level of 72.95 rubles, which became the lowest value in the last three months, while the EUR / RUB rate fell by 1.6% and closed at RUB 88.37 As a result, the cost of the dual-currency basket of the dollar and the euro (in the proportion of 55% and 45%, respectively) dropped over the week by 1.5% to 79.89 rubles.
At the beginning of this week, the ruble lost some of its positions: the national currency rate against the dollar returned to the level of 73.38 rubles, and against the euro – to the level of 89.06 rubles. The reason for the change in market sentiment was the deterioration of the epidemiological situation in the world, as a result of which restrictive measures were tightened in a number of countries to combat the pandemic. So, in Germany, the introduction of a full-scale quarantine was announced from December 16. Also, lockdowns are planned in New York and London. At the same time, the positive factor of the beginning of vaccination of the population in the largest countries faded into the background, since the effect of this will be felt no earlier than the second half of 2021.
At the same time, oil prices are holding close to their maximum values since March of this year, which is favorable for the Russian currency. At the beginning of this week, there was a temporary drawdown in oil prices after the publication of the monthly OPEC report: the organization worsened its forecast of global demand for next year by 350 thousand barrels per day. Nevertheless, the fall was completely “bought back”, and the price of Brent crude returned to the level above $ 50 per barrel. For oil prices, as for other risky assets, the key factor determining the direction of movement remains the situation with the coronavirus pandemic. If the focus of the participants’ attention shifts from the long-term prospects of economic recovery to the short-term effects of the pandemic, the global markets may be followed by a decrease in risk appetite and, accordingly, a fall in oil prices and a weakening of the ruble.
It should also be noted that since December 7, the volume of foreign exchange interventions by the Ministry of Finance has been reduced by 0.3 billion rubles, to 2.2 billion rubles. daily. At the moment, the total volume of foreign exchange sales by the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Russia is 6.3 billion rubles. in a day. From the beginning of next year, foreign exchange interventions will be reduced by another 2.9 billion rubles. at the expense of the end of the program for selling the currency received by the Central Bank from a transaction with Sberbank shares. Thus, regulatory support for the Russian currency will continue to gradually weaken, which may play a negative role if the mood on world markets changes for the worse.
As for other factors that may affect the dynamics of the national currency rate in the coming days, it is necessary to note the Fed meeting, scheduled for December 15-16, and the meeting of the Bank of Russia, which will be held on December 18. The Fed is likely to keep the current parameters of monetary policy unchanged, but the general assessment by the regulator of the current state of the American economy, its future prospects, and the need for additional measures of monetary stimulus will be of interest. If we talk about the upcoming meeting of the Bank of Russia, based on its results, we expect the key rate to remain at 4.25%, which will be neutral for the ruble exchange rate.
In terms of macroeconomic statistics, data on Russia’s GDP for the III quarter were published last week. According to the final estimate, gross output declined by 3.4% (YoY) compared with a decline of 8.0% (YoY) in 2Q, which, however, turned out to be better than the consensus forecast of -3.6% (y / y).
In the coming week, one should pay attention to the publication in Russia of November data on GDP, unemployment, retail sales and producer price index.
USD / RUB
On the daily chart, the USD / RUB rate bounced off the 72.7 level, which currently acts as a support. Stochastic lines are in a bullish divergence position (the lows on the instrument’s chart are not confirmed by the indicator lows), which indicates that the downward momentum is fading and the quotes are likely to reverse upwards.
EUR / RUB
EUR / RUB quotes turned upwards, slightly missing the level of 88.0. Stochastic lines are in a bullish divergence position (the lows on the instrument’s chart are not confirmed by the indicator lows), which indicates the possible end of the downtrend and the likelihood of a rate reversal upward.
This information is not investment advice.