Russian Ruble General Info
Reputedly, the Russian ruble has been in existence in one form or another for nearly 800 years, and as such is one of the world’s oldest national currencies. A single ruble unit is subdivided into 100 kopeks.
Contributing to around 1% of all foreign exchange deals, the ruble is the world’s seventeenth most traded currency.
The value of the ruble is heavily influenced by commodities prices since Russia’s top exports include oil, natural gas and metals.
In recent years, the most significant event to affect the ruble’s valuation came in the second half of 2014 with the introduction of economic sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. These sanctions, together with a 50% drop in the oil price in the same period, led to a ruble collapse. The ruble lost nearly 60% of its value against the US dollar between July and mid-December 2014.
Since 2000, the ruble’s highest valuation against the dollar occurred in July 2008 when USD/RUB fell to just 23.05. Its lowest value came in January 2016 when USD/RUB reached 85.97.
As an emerging market currency, the ruble is considered riskier than the “FX majors,” which means that it is likely to fall in value against those currencies (especially JPY, USD, CHF, EUR and GBP) during periods of significant economic uncertainty or high market volatility, or when global geopolitical risk is elevated.RUB Foreign Transfers RUB Travel Money Read our Travel Guide to Russia
Russian Ruble - Recent Performance
In late October, the Russian ruble fell to an eight-week low against the dollar (a USD/RUB high) of 58.707 after the Russian central bank lowered interest rates to 8.25%, from 8.5%. It was the fifth time in 2017 that the bank had reduced the cost of borrowing. The ruble weakened despite the decision being widely expected. The Bank of Russia have cut rates with the goal of boosting growth and inflation; the latter having fallen well below the bank’s target in the third quarter.
Against the dollar, the ruble now stands close to the midpoint of its 2014-2017 range. The Russian currency has appreciated nearly 50% against the greenback since January 2016, although that masks to a great extent its massive losses between 2014 and then. Overall, since 2014, the ruble has lost 44% of its value against USD (lost 33% against the euro).
Looking ahead, HSBC see the ruble weakening to 61.0 per dollar by the end of 2018. Further ruble weakness will be driven by monetary policy. Interest rates in Russia will continue to fall, “but modestly so,” said Citi economist Ivan Tchakarov in October. The economist thought that the Bank of Russia would switch from a “moderately tight” bias to a neutral bias sometime in 2019.