Results of the year in the foreign exchange market: Ruble fluctuated between historical bottom and seven-year high.
MOSCOW, December 29 – RIA Novosti, Dmitry Mayorov. The Russian ruble in the outgoing year, despite record volatility and timid attempts to “tie” it, the dollar updated in March to the historical maximum of 121.5 rubles, and then – in June – a seven-year low of 50.1 rubles .
At the same time, the fact that the ratio of the maximum dollar exchange rate to the minimum in 2014 interestingly coincided with the same indicator and was approximately 2.4, is due to the data of the Moscow Stock Exchange. But at that time the volatility was aimed at the growth of the dollar (from 33.03 to 80.1 rubles), and after 8 years it turned out to be versatile – first the ruble weakened sharply, and then it increased equally sharply.
That is, especially talented and successful speculators managed to earn 140% from currency fluctuations in 2022, selling dollars for 121.5 rubles in March and buying them back for 50 rubles in June. The euro spent a year in the range of 50.7-132.4 rubles. At the same time, the euro, which is 50.7 rubles, was before that only in October 2014.
How the yuan dollar was almost caught
Thanks to the skillful actions of the financial regulators, last year was also the year of the friendly Chinese yuan victory in the Russian foreign exchange market. Its rate spent the year of change in the range of 7.5-23.01 rubles. So, here the scope of earnings was maximum, and the minimum of 7.5 rubles for the yuan was updated for the first time since November 2014.
Apparently, this is partly why last year the volume of two tens of billions of rubles a month barely noticeable increased to 1-1.5 trillion, exceeding the euro (less than 1 trillion) and approaching the dollar last year. indicator (more than 1.5 trillion). Of course, the first important reason here is to avoid devaluation and hostile money.
Thus, while dollar volumes fell, yuan volumes grew, and the overall distribution on the Moscow Stock Exchange was approximately as follows: 2/5 for the dollar and yuan, and 1/5 for the euro.
In general, the ruble year was 4.2% against the US currency (71.7 rubles per dollar), against China – 15.2% (10.17 rubles per yuan), against the euro – 11.2% ( 76.02 rubles per) ends with growth. Euro), respectively.
The ruble suffered a geopolitical shock
The year 2022 has already started tensely due to the events that coincided with the first holiday week of January, when the Moscow Stock Exchange was traded in Kazakhstan in recent years. Due to the doubling of the price of liquefied gas in Kazakhstan, the protests quickly turned into mass actions and armed conflict with law enforcement, which sharply increased the pressure on the ruble exchange rate on January 4-5, as Kazakhstan is a close economic and political partner. of Russia.
Only the intervention of the CSTO forces and the clear statements of the President of Kazakhstan about the reform plan helped to calm the situation quickly. However, as soon as the Kazakh shock subsided, the Russia-NATO issue that had been painful for the ruble resurfaced, with a focus on Ukraine. Moscow drew several “red lines” in connection with the neighboring state and continued to wait for a written response from the West to its negotiations and security guarantee proposals. However, Western countries gradually began to remove their embassy employees in Kiev, which put pressure on the ruble.
Moscow’s review of written responses from the United States and NATO, and the start of the Chinese Winter Olympics, brought the harsh geopolitical rhetoric to a halt. However, during this pause, Moscow examined the reactions of the West, stating that Russia’s main concerns were ignored by them. The heads of the DPR and LPR organized a massive evacuation of the population (about 700 thousand people) from the republics in connection with the threat of invasion of Ukraine, and then appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the republics.
Then a meeting of the Security Council was held, where all its members spoke in favor of Russia’s recognition of the sovereignty of the self-proclaimed republics. Later, Putin addressed the Russians regarding the events in Ukraine and said that he considered it necessary to take such a decision. Immediately after the televised speech, the President of Russia signed the relevant decrees in the Kremlin. Stagnant statements from the West about sanctions against these actions of Russia faded against the background of reports that on February 24 a special military operation began in Ukraine.
Historical declines began for the ruble. However, it did not last long – thanks to the professionalism of the financial officials, the situation stabilized in literally nine trading sessions, but this turned out to be very dramatic. Apparently, it was just then that the First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said in March at the end of the year that the control system began to act only reactively, and there was a moment if the processes of chaos continued. To grow, the system can get out of control.
But financial regulators took an anti-shock…
But this did not happen, and the ruble rose so confidently that in the second half of the year the government began to talk about its over-strengthening. At the same time, the Moscow Stock Exchange did not suspend foreign exchange trading for a single day in February-March, despite the urgency of the situation.
What did the regulators do? Thus, the Central Bank immediately started direct foreign exchange interventions to support the ruble in the last days of February. In addition, the maximum debt of credit institutions to Bank of Russia within the scope of foreign currency REPO transactions was increased from $15 billion to $50 billion. This eliminated the seriousness of the problem with currency liquidity in the market and prevented the dollar and euro from “flying into space”.
However, the standard of the situation quickly disappeared, and then the unexpected began. Tough Western sanctions, primarily against Bank of Russia, which froze nearly half of its reserves, have stalled the regulator’s ability to handle foreign exchange interventions that amounted to nearly $1 billion in CBO’s first day alone. But the Central Bank quickly found alternatives. In particular, investors from hostile countries were prohibited from withdrawing funds from the Russian Federation, their volume turned out to be approximately equal to the volume of frozen reserves of Russia.
But everyone tried. Thus, the Moscow Exchange shortened the trading time and turned on the “bars” mode when the rate immediately after the opening hit the allowable ceiling, after which the platform gradually upgraded it to the area of \u200b\u200bOTC market levels. smash the panic hype. The Central Bank raised the key rate to a record 20% per annum, and banks offered profitable deposits, which sharply reduced the number of people willing to buy foreign currency and pushed many to earn on deposits of 21% per year.
As of February 28, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance obliged exporters to sell 80 percent of their foreign exchange earnings under all foreign trade agreements, in order to replace foreign exchange interventions. Experts at the time estimated that these sales could reach up to $2 billion a day. In the context of the West’s ban on the import of cash euros and dollars into the Russian Federation, the volume of cash withdrawals from deposits was limited to 10 thousand dollars and was withdrawn only from accounts opened by individuals before March 9.
At the same time, the Central Bank introduced a commission for the purchase of foreign currency on the stock exchange – first reduced it to 30% for individuals, then to 12%, but expanded the category of payers and buyers-legal entities. The Ministry of Finance of Russia, on the other hand, announced that it will not receive foreign currency and gold due to the temporary suspension of some provisions of the budget rules on the use of additional oil and gas revenues from the federal budget for 2022.
The President signed a decree on the payment of Russian gas in rubles by “hostile” countries. Gazprombank became a bank authorized for foreign buyers to open special ruble accounts to pay for gas supplies. From the point of view of the foreign exchange market, such a decision is equivalent to Gazprom selling 100% of its revenue from deliveries to hostile countries.
As a result, the dollar and euro returned to double-digit values a month after the start of the CBO, and a month and a half later completely lost their year-on-year growth. This was a signal for financial regulators to stop, but already – to further strengthen the ruble.
And they fought with a strong ruble …
At the beginning of April, thanks to the efforts of the financial authorities, the conditions for the unstoppable growth of the ruble improved. The main factor behind this was the restrictions on capital movement and the fact that exports reduced imports significantly. Therefore, the Central Bank took the first rather sharp step in the field of monetary policy, immediately lowering the key rate from 20% to 17% per annum. Later, the regulator lowered the key rate with the same confidence, returning to the current level of 7.5% year-on-year in September.
On April 11 it canceled the commission on swaps with dollars and euros, and on April 18 it allowed banks to sell cash to the Russians. The monthly limit for transfers of Russian residents and non-Russian residents from friendly countries to themselves or to individuals abroad was also gradually increased, reaching the level of 1 million dollars. The government commission systematically lowered the requirements for the forced sale of foreign currency earnings by exporters from 80% and completely removed the restrictions that even allowed them to leave foreign currency in foreign accounts.
Verbal interventions were used by the authorities about the disadvantages of a strong ruble for the economy, and there were even ideas to “fix” the ruble. After all, one ruble strengthening of the dollar brought about 130 billion rubles to the annual budget of the Russian Federation, recalled the head of the Ministry of Finance Anton Siluanov. The Central Bank, however, made it clear that reverting to exchange rate regulation by sticking to the floating rate was unacceptable, explaining that pegging the ruble in “toxic” currencies threatened the transfer of inflation from these unfriendly countries.
Thus, in the context of the devaluation and the formation of the concept of “toxicity” of the dollar and euro, the ruble quickly “digested” currency concessions. As a result, fears that the West will impose heavy sanctions on the NCC (National Clearing House), part of the Moscow Exchange group, in the early summer have driven foreign currencies to multi-year lows against the ruble. currencies. Such restrictions can cause freezing of dollars and euros in accounts used for trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange, and the most nervous began to get rid of such assets.
However, no sanctions were imposed on the NCC until the end of the year, and after the autumn stabilization, the exchange rate at the end of the year went into the region of closing levels of 2021 (70+ rubles per dollar). In December, the ruble came under a number of accumulated pressure factors. Due to the contraction in exports of sanctions and the simultaneous increase in imports, including parallel ones, there was a decrease in the trade surplus. In addition to the deteriorating balance of trade, the withdrawal of foreign currency can also have the effect, for example, of paying off foreign currency debts or hedging import contracts for the next year.
In 2022, the ruble managed to both stand on a “steep peak” and resist the temptation to “fly into space” (about 40 rubles per dollar). Both options will be a shock to the country’s economy. However, the system did not get out of control, but after showing two endpoints, it started to stabilize. The ruble remains on the “golden average”, in a volatile market, and is entering 2023 at very comfortable levels for the country’s further development.
I am Emma Sickels, a highly experienced journalist specializing in news and economy. As an author at News Unrolled, I cover the latest trends in the economic sector and provide readers with valuable insights into its complexities. My work has been featured in various media outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, Bloomberg Businessweek and many more.