Bets on the ruble weakening in the U.S. reached a record

Speculative investors in the United States on the eve or immediately after the parliamentary elections in Russia made a big bet on the weakening of the ruble. Short positions of speculators in futures and options on the exchange rate traded on the stock exchange CME, the week from 14 to 20 September rose 3638, or 33%, and reached a historic high (14 811 thousand contracts), according to the Commission futures trading USA (CFTC). The controller maintains information on the rates on the ruble since 2009.

Only three trader (anonymous in the statistics CFTC) has accumulated a record number of short positions on the ruble, equivalent to 37 billion rubles, follows from the data of the Commission released on Friday evening. Long positions are still far more, but the difference in their favor (net long position) declined last week by nearly 3 million (the largest decline this year), to 7739.

September 18 the State Duma elections, the results of which became known the next day. The ruling party United Russia got a constitutional majority, occupying 76% of the seats in the state Duma of the new convocation; in addition to it, the Parliament passed the same three parties that were present in the same composition. The ruble on Monday reacted to the outcome of the vote, is not brought surprises, growth — continuity of policy was accepted by the Russian market. The ruble grew all week, rising during this time by 1.7% (data from Bloomberg terminal), the decision by the fed not to raise rates and expectations of growth in oil prices next year.

However, the rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s drew attention to the low voter turnout (48%), writing in their reviews that it reflects “frustration of the population” in the policy of budget cuts and “voter apathy”. Both agencies in this context pointed to the risk not strong enough to reduce budget deficits. In Fitch’s view, fiscal austerity will be less aggressive than in 2014-2015, particularly in the run-up to presidential elections in 2018. “Even with a strong parliamentary majority low turnout increases the risk that the government and President Vladimir Putin decides not to pursue painful and unpopular reforms before the presidential elections 2018,” said Moody’s.