Investors using Russian ruble futures turned bearish this week for the first time since December, according to data compiled the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Hedge funds and large speculators were net short 2,001 futures contracts on the currency in the week ended July 14, wagering that the ruble will decrease in value, the data show. That compares with 999 long positions in the prior five trading days.
The ruble dropped 0.9 percent this week, widening its loss from this year’s high to about 14 percent. Brent crude, the oil grade traders use to price the country’s main export blend, slid 2.8 percent to $57.10 per barrel, extending the decline from last year’s high to 50 percent.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimate that Russia’s gross domestic product will contract 3.5 percent this year. The country’s last recession was in 2009.