On Friday, January 17, trading on the Moscow Exchange is accompanied by a noticeable appreciation of the Russian currency. The dollar fell by 0.5% to 61.3 rubles, and the euro fell by 0.6% to 68.2 rubles.
The official exchange rate of the Central Bank on January 18 was 61.53 rubles per dollar and 68.53 rubles per euro.
The national currency is steadily rising in price after a slight weakening in recent days. So, even at the auction on January 16, the dollar and the euro rose to 61.76 and 68.9 rubles, respectively. According to RT portfolio manager of QBF Denis Ikonnikov, during the week the main influence on the dynamics of the Russian currency was exerted by news about the change of the prime minister and the resignation of the government.
Recall, on January 15, Vladimir Putin in a message to the Federal Assembly proposed amending the Constitution and expanding the powers of the State Duma, after which Dmitry Medvedev announced the resignation of the government in full force.
“I certainly thank everyone who participated in the work of the government in this composition, and, of course, further decisions will be made by the president of the country,” Medvedev added.
In turn, the president instructed the ministers to carry out their duties until the formation of a new government. At the same time, the head of state proposed taking the post of prime minister to the head of the Federal Tax Service, Mikhail Mishustin. On January 16, the State Duma approved his candidacy and the president signed a decree appointing a new cabinet chairman.
“After the announcement of the resignation of the government, the ruble fell in price, as uncertainty arose among market participants. However, after the appointment of a new prime minister, the situation stabilized and became clearer. As a result, we see that the ruble has begun to strengthen, ”Ikonnikov explained.
According to RT chief analyst at TeleTrade Group of Companies Pyotr Pushkaryov, after updating the Cabinet, investors expect more efficient implementation of national projects and accelerate the economy. According to the expert, the ceasefire in the tariff war between the USA and China also had a certain impact on investor optimism. On January 15, Washington and Beijing signed the first part of the deal.
Usually, during a decrease in geopolitical tensions in the world, investors begin to actively buy risky assets. Therefore, improved trade relations between the United States and China could have a positive effect on the ruble. This was said in an interview with RT by the investment strategist of BCS Premier Alexander Bakhtin.
“Market participants received a signal that the US and China are likely to refrain from returning to a trade conflict in the near future. Thus, in the absence of any significant reasons for the decline, the demand for risky assets will remain high. This, in turn, will support the exchange rate of the Russian currency, ”Bakhtin emphasized.
According to the analyst, in the near future, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance will have a little pressure on the ruble. On January 15, the Central Bank resumed purchases of foreign currency for the Ministry of Finance in an increased volume. Until February 6, the regulator plans to allocate almost 310 billion rubles for these purposes.
- © Sergei Karpukhin
Recall that the Ministry of Finance conducts currency interventions through the Central Bank within the framework of the budget rule. This strategy of the Ministry is designed to reduce the dependence of the ruble on oil prices and is insurance for the Russian economy from shocks in the hydrocarbon market.
While Urals brand energy raw materials are traded above the established threshold of $ 42.2 per barrel, the department buys foreign currency for the excess profit received from its sale and thereby deliberately puts pressure on the ruble. As a result, with rising oil prices, the national currency of Russia does not strengthen, and in the event of a sharp collapse in commodity quotes, the volume of operations of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance decreases and pressure on the ruble weakens.
“In 2020, I do not expect sharp fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate. If any significant changes in the market begin to occur, then the Central Bank will always be able to adjust the exchange rate using the budget rule mechanism, ”said Denis Ikonnikov.
According to Alexander Bakhtin, by the end of January the dollar will be in the range of 60.8–61.8 rubles, and the euro - 68–69.2 rubles. At the same time, Peter Pushkarev predicts a further strengthening of the national currency until the end of March.
“In the coming month, the dollar will fluctuate in the range of 61–62.5 rubles. After that, most likely, the value will gradually fall below the level of 60 rubles, and at a certain moment you can see the level of 57-58 rubles. The euro exchange rate in the first quarter of 2020 will remain in a wider range - 65–70 rubles, ”Pushkaryov explained.
Against the background of the observed ruble appreciation, the Mosbirzi index updated its historical maximum. The stock indicator rose 1.2% and for the first time since the observation (since 1997) exceeded the mark of 3198 points.
According to experts, in addition to changing the Russian government and concluding a deal between the United States and China, investor optimism is associated with the opportunity to receive relatively high income in the country's stock market.
“Investors are now particularly positive about the fact that our stock market gives one of the highest dividend yield in the world - more than 6%. Well, in addition, the Russian market is still underestimated. All this, together with relative political stability, may allow the market to grow even before the end of January, ”said Denis Ikonnikov.
Alexander Bakhtin also links the observed growth in the Mosbirzhi index with a record influx of private investors into the country's stock market. At the end of 2019, the number of customers on the Moscow Exchange doubled and reached 3.86 million people. According to Bakhtin, Russians are increasingly storing money in securities as an alternative to cheaper bank deposits.
According to the expert, in the near future the Mosbirzhi index can overcome the psychological mark of 3200 points and will continue to grow after a possible slight decrease.