The Russian rouble recovered some lost ground in thin offshore trade on Tuesday, following heavy losses caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has made it the worst-performing emerging market currency this year by far. The local market was closed due to a public holiday, and currency trading is expected to resume on Wednesday.
The rouble has dropped more than 40% against the dollar since the beginning of the year, with losses accelerating after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, prompting sweeping sanctions from governments worldwide. At the moment, the rouble’s future is highly uncertain. On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, and the price of a barrel of oil reached its highest level this week since mid-2008.
Curbs on Russia and its lenders, companies, and key individuals, as well as counter-measures from Moscow, have made trading Russian assets increasingly tricky.
The rouble was recently trading at 127 per dollar on the EBS trading platform, up more than 6% on the day. It was as high as 134 on Refinitiv, with volumes down 99 percent from the February daily average.
The United States’ oil embargo kept the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his devastating assault on Ukraine. Still, an attempt to evacuate civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol failed.
The Moscow Exchange’s stock trading was halted last week due to a central bank order. The bank stated that stock market trading would be suspended mainly on Wednesday, with only a limited range of operations remaining open. The foreign exchange market will reopen after skipping the early morning session. An investment firm that held some of Gazprom’s (MCX: GAZP) $1.3 billion bonds that matured on Monday said it received full payment in US dollars.
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