Nearly 10 weeks into the war, the Russian ruble has witnessed significant gains against the US dollar, despite the mounting sanctions and the bullish pace of the greenback.
At the time of writing, the ruble was up 20.32% against the US dollars, trading $67.09 down from the $84 region seen a month ago.
Fears of a eurozone recession and the Euro’s bearish momentum have rekindled the chance that the currency may reach parity with the dollar.
The EUR/USD was trading at 1.0515 at the time of writing, its lowest level in five years. The EUR/USD had lost about 4.81% in a month of trade and was down 7.54% YTD.
What you should know
The Russian ruble’s strength is inextricably related to Putin’s demand for rubles for energy payments. Despite two Interset rate cuts in a month, this has pushed up ruble demand significantly.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin enacted a law requiring international gas buyers to pay in rubles or face having their supplies shut off. He claimed that this was necessary because if they paid in hard currency, Moscow would be unable to access the funds due to Western sanctions over Ukraine.
In effect, foreign gas customers must open ruble and hard currency accounts with Gazprombank, which will collect their payments in foreign currencies and convert them to rubles through auctions on a Moscow exchange. According to the region’s statistics agency, Russian oil imports accounted for around 25% of the bloc’s crude purchases in 2020.
Recently, Russian energy company Gazprom cut natural gas supplies to two EU countries (Poland and Bulgaria) for failing to comply with Russia’s demands. The European Union responded by proposing to impose additional sanctions on Moscow, which would almost certainly include a ban on Russian oil imports.
However, the EU would need member states to unanimously accept new measures against Russia, whereas Slovakia and Hungary are seeking exclusions for Russia’s oil sections.
The dollar index, however, has maintained a bullish pace within the past month gaining 4.67% to trade at $103.56 at the time of writing. Furthermore, the FED anticipated rare hike is expected to push the greenback high.
Inflation in the US is 8.5% for the 12 months ending March 2022. This is the highest since December 1981 and has reinforced the argument that a sharp rate hike is needed to keep inflation in check.
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