The Russian economy has been rocked by the coronavirus outbreak, and the breakdown of the OPEC+ oil production pact between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The turmoil has shocked traders around the world and resulted in sharp volatility on the Russian stock markets and swings in the value of the ruble — both of which are down around 20% since the start of the year.
The latest on the markets, as of 10.30 Moscow-time March 17:
— Markets were subdued Tuesday morning, with the huge overnight moves which have characterized trading in the last few weeks failing to materialize. The calm comes after another bloodbath on Wall Street on Monday, where stocks fell 12% in the worst daily performance in 33 years. “The Federal Reserve’s emergency move Sunday apparently failed to impress markets Monday, with investors questioning the efficiency of monetary policy for fighting the virus outbreak,” wrote VTB Capital’s Maxim Korovin in his Tuesday research note to clients.
— The ruble gained almost 1% overnight, trading at 74 against the U.S. dollar.
— The Russian stock markets registered small but steady gains, reversing some of yesterday’s losses. The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 1.6% to 982 points in the first minutes of Tuesday trading, while the ruble MOEX Index climbed by the same extent, moving back above 2,300. Blue chips Gazprom, Sberbank and Sistema were top of the leaderboard.
— Brent crude oil also climbed overnight, hovering slightly above the benchmark $30 a barrel price which traders have fixed on since the collapse of the OPEC+ deal earlier March.
18.00 Moscow-time March 16:
— The ruble fell again Monday, down 2.5% to start off the week, trading at 74.2 against the U.S. dollar. Earlier in the day, the currency fellow the benchmark level of 75 to the dollar.
— The Russian stock market also lost 5% as global stocks plummeted following an emergency rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve announced late Sunday. The RTS index, which is denominated in dollars, stood at 938 points (-5.4%), while the ruble-based MOEX Index was at 2,216 (-4.3%).
— Oil slipped to a fresh multi-year lows, with Brent crude falling 10% below $31 a barrel. Edward Moya, analyst at OANDA said: “Oil’s worst-case scenario seems to be coming true. The coronavirus is paralyzing economies across the world and no-one has any clue how much worse it will get. You can basically start pricing a complete collapse in crude demand for much of the world.”