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Ruble Drops With Bonds as Gas Talks Fail: Russia Reality Check

As markets react in real time to Russia’s incursion into Crimea and the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, the ruble weakened the most in two weeks and bonds fell as talks with Ukraine over gas prices failed.

The ruble declined 0.4 percent to 34.6030 per dollar, paring its appreciation since Feb. 28, a day before President Vladimir Putin’s incursion, to 3.6 percent. OAO Gazprom, Russia’s main gas exporter, will require upfront payments for fuel from Ukraine from now on. The country must pay $1.95 billion to partially settle its debt to Gazprom.

The chart shows the performance of stocks, bonds and the ruble, along with indicators of Russian investment risk. Yields on government notes due February 2027 rose 16 basis points to 8.72 percent, taking the increase since Feb. 28 to 36 basis points. The Micex Index fell 1.3 percent to 1,481.98, paring its advance in the period to 2.6 percent.

The top panel displays the value of the Micex Index of 50 Russian equities, government debt in the Bloomberg Russia Local Sovereign Bond Index, and the ruble relative to the dollar. Credit default swap rates on Russian bonds due in five years appear in the bottom panel. The yield gap between Russian debt and U.S. Treasuries and the one-month implied volatility of the ruble are also tracked.

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