Russia: Ruble rallies at start of 2019
The Russian ruble recovered lost ground against the U.S. dollar at the beginning of the new year, after weakening sharply at the end of 2018 due to low oil prices. On 1 February, the ruble ended the day at 65.4 per USD, up 6.1% from the same day last month. Despite this year’s gains, the ruble was still down 17.0% against the USD from the same day of last year, after weakening sharply due to sanctions-related woes.
The currency’s strengthening was supported by a robust current account surplus. Depressed imports and solid oil exports caused the current account surplus to come in at nearly USD 40 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, the best result since Q2 2012. In addition, cautious monetary policy is also helping to shore up the ruble.