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Ruble Weakens as Outlook for Additional U.S. Stimulus Eases

The ruble weakened against the dollar as investors speculated the U.S. economy is growing enough for the Federal Reserve to avoid more stimulus.

The Russian currency slid 0.3 percent to 31.9160 versus the dollar by the close in Moscow. Investors are betting the ruble will fall further, with non-deliverable forwards showing the currency at 32.4025 per dollar in three months, little changed from yesterday. The currency rallied 0.2 percent to 39.1825 per euro.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields climbed to the highest level in almost three months after a report today showed a pickup in industrial output. Data yesterday indicated American retail sales grew more than forecast. Oil, Russia’s main export earner, advanced 0.3 percent to $93.70 a barrel in New York.

“Investors expected that a possible stimulus could boost stocks and commodities prices,” Maxim Korovin, a Moscow-based analyst at VTB Capital said by phone. “As chances for the stimulus fade, they are reducing appetite for risky assets, including the Russian ruble.”

Russia’s currency was little changed at 35.1859 versus the central bank’s target basket, which is made up of 55 percent dollars and 45 percent euros.

Given the current oil price, it’s hard for the ruble to weaken to more than 35.30 to 35.45 rubles versus the central bank’s currency basket, VTB’s Korovin said. “This will be the resistance level.”

Russia’s central bank on July 24 set a corridor for the currency to fluctuate in between 31.65 to 38.65 rubles to the dollar-euro basket.

The extra yield investors demand to own Russia’s dollar bonds over U.S. Treasuries fell two basis points to 221, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index. Yields on the government’s ruble bonds due April 2021 rose four basis points to 7.87 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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