Analysts: Russian ruble weakened by declining oil revenues

U.S. dollars and euros.
U.S. dollars and euros. Source: Ibrahim Boran/Unsplash

Analysts believe the fall in oil revenues is behind the Russian ruble hitting a 16-month low against the U.S. dollar and euro this week.

Data from the Moscow Stock Exchange showed the ruble trading at 101.01 to the dollar on Monday morning and 110.73 against the euro. 

The last time the ruble traded at this rate was in March 2022.

Sanctions are to blame, analysts told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera", as they limit exports while making imports more expensive.

The Bank of Estonia's Peeter Luikmel said: "The main reason is that the Russian state and Russian companies have to pay a higher price for imports. Imported goods, which somehow still manage to get in between the sanctions, cost more. The other aspect, which has affected the exchange rate all along, is the oil business. The Russians are no longer doing so well with oil production and sales."

Peeter Koppel, head of investments at Redgate Wealth, said: "Russia is not doing so well exporting oil because of sanctions. And there is no demand for the ruble. Nobody is interested in the ruble, it has become an exotic currency and why would anyone want to own exotic currency."

In the short term, the ruble's depreciation can support the Russian budget because, for every dollar earned, it will get more rubles.

"For Russian households, the weakening of the rouble means that imported goods become more expensive, reducing their purchasing power," said Swedbank senior economist Liis Elmik. "For the Russian government, this is rather good news. It will make it easier for them to finance the war."

However, Russia's central bank is trying to introduce measures to maintain to steady the exchange rate.

"Today, the Russian rouble's exchange rate is largely determined by the Russian central bank and the authorities. The central bank has already started to raise interest rates, although it says that this may not have an immediate and rapid impact on the ruble exchange rate. They are jumping 1 percentage point higher and 1 percentage point higher; today the interest rate in Russia is over 8 [percent]," said Luikmel. "It shows that something needs to be done and that conventional measures cannot control it."

He added that Russia is hoping for a strengthening of the rouble as oil prices rise.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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