As December closes and New Year opens, the Russian rouble was plotting a course back to recovery just as the Moscow Exchange (MOEX) and forex traders closed for the holidays until January 10.
On the final-day of trading, the rouble was 2.6 percent stronger against the US dollar at 56.81 roubles per dollar.
Traders were encouraged to see the Russian bear roar within the first hour of trading, with an upswing of 6 percent on the dollar, before heading down and then clawing back into positive territory.
This seemed to be the story of the day and of the month, with the Russian rouble having swung precariously in recent weeks, with panic gripping markets and threatening to leave President Vladimir
Putin’s economic plans in tatters.
Reuters citing Vladimir Miklashevsky, a trading desk strategist at Danske Bank, said: “We think state companies were ‘explicitly recommended’ to sell foreign currency today so that the rouble ends the year on a beautiful note.”
Nordea Bank analysts suggested the early surge was down to forex sales by one of Russia’s state exporters, which were recently ordered to sell part of their overseas revenues to support the rouble.
Nevertheless, the rouble is down over 40 percent on the dollar in 2014 due to plunging oil prices and sanctions imposed by the West over Russia’s interventions in Ukraine. The central bank was also forced to hike interest rates from 10.5 per cent to 17 per cent.
This loss has been at the cost of a staggering $80 billion by Russia’s central bank to prop up the currency – the heaviest intervention for five years.