The ruble weakened, heading for its biggest drop against Bank Rossii’s basket of target currencies in three weeks, after oil fell and an increase in Australian unemployment spurred concern that economic growth is slowing.
The ruble dropped 1.2 percent to 40.9642 against the central bank’s basket of dollars and euros by 4:29 p.m. in Moscow. That’s the biggest decline on a closing basis since Jan. 24. The yield on Russian government bonds due February 2027 rose seven basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, to 8.25 percent.
“It started with Australia, and now there’s inertial pressure on emerging markets with a new wave of fears about an economic slowdown there,” Dmitry Dorofeev, a money manager at BCS Financial Group in Moscow, said in e-mailed comments.
Most emerging-market currencies dropped against the dollar and euro after Australia’s unemployment rate climbed to the highest level in more than 10 years in January. Crude oil, which along with natural gas provides about half of Russia’s budget’s revenue, fell 0.3 percent to $108.43 a barrel in London.
The ruble weakened 1 percent against the dollar to 35.1605 and 1.5 percent to 48.0520 versus the euro. The Russian currency has lost 6.5 percent this year against the greenback, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, the worst performer among 24 emerging-market currencies except for Argentina’s peso.
The ruble may get support from exporters selling hard currency-denominated revenue in order to pay local taxes next week, ZAO VTB Capital analysts Maxim Korovin and Anton Nikitin said in an e-mailed note today.
“There are sizable offers from exporters, but so far it’s not enough to counter the continuing demand for hard currency,” Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States at ING Groep NV’s Moscow unit, said in an e-mailed note.
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