Russian ruble rides to 5-month high

GMT 14:43 2015 Friday ,10 April

Arab Today, arab today Russian ruble rides to 5-month high

The Russian ruble
Moscow - AFP

The Russian ruble traded at a five-month high Friday, having steadily climbed out of its winter slump to the joy of officials and leaving analysts scratching their heads.

The Russian currency was trading as high as 50.27 to the dollar and 53.4 to the euro around the early afternoon. It was the ruble's strongest point since early December.

The ruble slumped dramatically in December as global oil prices collapsed, taking its 2014 drop to over 40 percent, which drove up inflation and compounded an economic crisis in the oil-dependent country.

Since then the currency has rebounded while oil prices stayed relatively stable and the conflict in Ukraine had simmered at a vastly lower level under the current truce agreement.

In an optimistic tone, the head of Russia's largest state bank Sberbank told President Vladimir Putin Friday that he won't need state support that he previously demanded.

"If nothing extraordinary happens we won't need help," German Gref told Putin. "I have a feeling that toward the middle of the year, if nothing negative happens, lending will more or less return" to normal levels.

The ruble's performance is "largely unrelated to oil dynamics," said a note by VTB Capital, explaining the recovery was down to financial factors like closing of contracts hedging the ruble exchange rate.

Commentators said another reason for the recovery was the lull in fighting in east Ukraine, which has put off fears of more Western sanctions imposed against Moscow.

"A restart of the war in Ukraine, new sanctions or counter-sanctions can easily return the ruble to January levels," Vedomosti business daily said in an editorial earlier this week.


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