Arab Today, arab today russian ruble extends losses despite turkey rate rise
Last Updated : GMT 11:25:09
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Russian ruble extends losses despite Turkey rate rise

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Arab Today, arab today Russian ruble extends losses despite Turkey rate rise

Moscow - AFP

The slumping ruble broke fresh historic lows on Wednesday as traders looked past Turkey's aggressive interest rate hike to focus on possible devaluation moves by Russia's Central Bank. The euro shot up by 1.1 percent to 48.10 rubles in evening trading on the Moscow Exchange -- substantially above the historic high it first set on Monday. The dollar also traded 1.0 percent higher at 35.23 rubles and appeared well on track to add further to a five-year high it established against the beleaguered Russian currency this week. "Against the backdrop of positive sentiment across global markets, such behaviour (by the ruble) looks ominous," Moscow's Nord Capital investment house said in a research note. Russia's Central Bank meanwhile announced that it had spent more than $1.1 billion (800 million euros) propping up the ruble on Monday as emerging market currencies plunged in value across the world. The figure represented the highest rate of Central Bank intervention for more than two years and was three times the amount it had spent on the Moscow Exchange the previous trading day. The Central Bank on Wednesday also moved higher for the 11th time this month the currency's trading band against a mixed basket of dollars and euros. Bank governors automatically raise the band they use to determine monetary policy by five kopecks when the ruble comes under significant selling pressure. Traders said the ruble was relieved of some pressure by the Turkish central bank's decision to hike interest rates well above expectations in a move meant to prop up the lira and stem the flow of investors from emerging markets. But sentiment once against turned against the Russian currency when the Central Bank's First Deputy Chairwoman Ksenia Yudayeva told The Wall Street Journal that stress tests showed Russian banks could handle a 30-percent ruble depreciation. Russia's Central Bank has reduced the amount of its direct interventions on the market as it moves to a fully floating exchange rate by the start of next year. The ruble has shed more than six percent of its value against the dual ruble-euro currency basket since the start of the year. Russia's Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has argued that the ruble's decline will be a boon for exporters that should help industry and promote stalling growth. Ulyukayev confirmed on Wednesday that Russia's economy expanded by just 1.4 percent last year -- its second-worst performance since President Vladimir Putin first rose to power 14 years ago. The economy chief added that Russia was unlikely to push up its own rates in Turkey's wake. Such a hike would protect consumers from the rise in the price of imports that accompanies the ruble's decline. Ulyukayev conceded that "there are certain additional inflationary risks" associated with the rise in the cost of foreign goods on which Russians have come to increasingly rely. "But I do not think that it will be strong enough for us to review our economic parameters," the economy minister stressed. Yet some analysts argued that Russia's growth was unlikely to revive substantially without urgent measures to improve fixed capital investment and promote stalled industrial output. "We doubt that (the ruble's depreciation) will be enough to raise Russia's growth rates substantially," the London-based Capital Economic consultancy said in a research note. "As things stand, wholesale economic and political reform is required in order to boost Russia's investment and hence its medium-term growth potential," Capital Economics observed.

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