What awaits the ruble in April: rise or fall

Experts assessed the factors influencing the national currency

The end of the week was marked by the strengthening of the ruble. The dollar exchange rate for this period was planned from 96 to 83.4 rubles, and the euro – from 105 to 93 rubles. At this rate, the domestic currency, which fell sharply in the first decade of March, a month later is able to return to the values ​​that existed before the special operation in Ukraine: 75 rubles per dollar and 86 – per euro. However, analysts do not rule out the opposite scenario: a new sharp collapse of the ruble in the near future. It may well materialize if the degree of geopolitical confrontation increases, new sanctions are followed, and the price of oil begins to fall. So what awaits the ruble ahead – rise or fall? To share forecasts for the near future of the national currency, “MK” asked experts.

Mark Goichmann, chief analyst at TeleTrade:

“The strengthening of the Russian currency is connected not only with the emerging opportunities to conclude agreements with Ukraine, which encourages investors. But in addition, there are tough, almost non-market drivers in this area. Demand for the currency is limited by the Central Bank’s bans and restrictions on its purchase, the inability of non-residents (foreigners) to sell Russian securities, and a sharp drop in imports. On the other hand, the supply of currency is artificially stimulated by the obligation of exporters to sell 80% of foreign exchange earnings. In April, this may be compounded by the transition of some gas importers to pay in rubles.

With the continuation of these factors, the dollar can go to 80 rubles. But it is unlikely to be below pre-crisis levels of 75 rubles per dollar. A stronger strengthening of the ruble is unlikely to allow economic authorities: in this case, it will undermine the ruble’s export earnings and budget revenues. If the ruble strengthens excessively, the country will lose more in ruble revenues from exports than benefit from cheaper imports. In the event of a hypothetical serious weakening of currencies, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance may, for example, repeal the rule of selling 80% of exporters’ revenue or resume buying currency under the “budget rule” of its purchase at high oil prices.

On the other hand, the risks remain considerable. This is a possible breakdown of negotiations with Ukraine, another aggravation of the geopolitical situation, tougher sanctions, rising inflation, sharper economic decline, further reduction of purchases of Russian raw materials by its main consumers, strengthening the dollar in the world as the Fed rises. Such factors can not only stop the strengthening of the ruble, but turn it back strongly enough. Therefore, the dollar in a negative scenario is able to rise again to 100 rubles and above. Now, in the face of uncertainty, it is difficult to predict which drivers will be stronger. The possibility of high volatility of the national currency in April remains. “

Dmitry Babin, stock market expert, BCS Mir Investitsii:

“The ruble has almost reached the levels where it was before the special operation. However, since then, harsh anti-Russian sanctions have been imposed, most of which are unlikely to be lifted even in the event of a complete and final de-escalation of the Ukrainian problem. At the same time, the negative economic effect of these sanctions will only accumulate over time, so current levels of the dollar and other foreign currencies against the ruble are too low amid high geopolitical uncertainty, high sanctions and economic risks.

In addition, despite the rise in prices for oil and other raw materials, its production in Russia and exports are declining due to sanctions, as well as the refusal of foreign consumers from Russian supplies. As a result, our exporters have to sell raw materials at a significant discount to world market prices. In addition, many foreign partners of our raw material producers are terminating their cooperation with them, which also has a negative impact on the extraction and processing of natural resources. That is, the foreign exchange earnings of exporters fall if the ruble is too expensive – it will negatively affect the revenues of the state budget and exporters. Therefore, even the current exchange rate of the ruble is inflated (the dollar is too cheap against it), based on the current geopolitical and financial and economic developments, as well as the prospects for their change.

Therefore, the ruble can resume the decline at any time, even without any negative signal. But given the persistence of strict restrictions on the withdrawal of foreign currency abroad, as well as other measures to stabilize the ruble, while the potential for its decline is limited. It is unlikely that in the coming weeks the dollar will go above 100 rubles, more likely to be in the corridor of 85-95 rubles.

Alexander Razuvaev, Member of the Supervisory Board of the Guild of Financial Analysts and Risk Managers:

“We must thank the Bank of Russia for strengthening the ruble. The regulator, temporarily losing $ 300 billion in reserves, began to act very wisely. Now we are watching how the ruble recouped all its losses. Exports are our way, respectively, the strengthening of the ruble is normal. If there are interruptions in gas supplies, the ruble can be very volatile. I think that for the next six months we should focus on the corridor of 70-80 rubles per dollar. I think that in the summer the reserves will thaw, and we will remove restrictions on the export of capital. Western companies will sell their business here, take dividends, respectively, they will take their money. But so far the ruble is strengthening, which is very good for prices.

The strengthening of the ruble against the dollar by 10% cuts annual inflation by 0.5-1%. Now the annual inflation is 15%. Stabilization of the ruble’s annual exchange rate suggests that the Central Bank will gradually begin to reduce the key rate, which we will see in the coming meetings.

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