The ruble against the dollar may fall in 2017, with current values up to 60-65 rubles/$. This scenario is much more likely than the strengthening of the Russian currency, according to the forecast of the chief economist of Alfa Bank Natalia Orlova received in the office.
The ruble strengthened from 65 RUB/$ at the end of November to 59-60 RUB/$ by January 2017, after the increase in oil prices to $55 per barrel on the background of the transaction and the OPEC oil-producing countries to limit production of raw materials. In addition, in late December, the Russian market has strengthened in the opinion that after the inauguration of the new US President Donald trump sanctions against Russia can be cancelled: the formation of expectations of capital inflow in Russia contributed to the strengthening of the ruble since the beginning of this year, reminiscent of Orlov.
However, such expectations should be considered exaggerated, the analyst believes. “These expectations distract attention from the fundamental problems of the ruble, that is, the growth of imports and scarcity of dollar liquidity,” writes Orlov.
The current account is under pressure of growth of imports: this index (yoy) accelerated from 5.6% in the 3rd quarter of 2016 to 8.5% in Q4, according to the forecast. Alfa-Bank expects that in 2017 the growth of imports will rise to 10%. While non-oil exports fell in 2016 by 10%. “Cumulatively, this has led to the fact that the current account surplus in Q4 2016 amounted to $7.8 billion versus $11 billion, which we expect amid rising oil prices; and $22.2 billion versus $26.7 billion, which we expect by the end of 2016,” writes Orlov. In her opinion, a strong current account is a key factor for the dynamics of the ruble exchange rate, but these results 2016 should be considered disappointing.
Has a solid Foundation and hope for the lifting of international sanctions, says Orlov. Now Russia is still cut off from global markets, banks operate in conditions of limited foreign exchange liquidity deficit which worsened in the fall of 2016, which limits the possibility of strengthening of the ruble, the analyst writes.
In addition, have a negative impact on the ruble may any decision to increase budget spending above forecast, and any other decisions or factors that could accelerate inflation, said Orlov. “The potential strengthening of the ruble is mainly dependent on the ability of the government to carefully prepare and carry out reforms that can become a priority only after 2018,” – said the expert. And before that time at current oil prices, the ruble will be traded in the range of 60-65 rubles./$, says Orlov. Therefore, the current exchange rate can be considered a good time for buying foreign currency, she adds.
High hopes for a quick lifting or easing of international sanctions really should be considered overrated, says principal analyst at Nordea Bank Olga Lapshina. So, on January 17 in a survey of analysts Deutsche Bank have noted that the probability of easing of US sanctions against Russia in March-April 2017 is 65%. According to Lapshin, the probability of such an event – a maximum of 25%. In this case, the dollar may weaken to 56-57 RUB, she says.
But most likely all the weakening of the ruble in comparison with the current values, allows Lapshin. “The basic version and for the first quarter, and all of 2017 – 60 rubles/$”, – the analyst believes. Negative for ruble factor in 2017, according to Lapshin – a large budget deficit and reducing the Reserve Fund.
The average annual dollar exchange rate this year could reach 62 RUB/$ at an oil price of $55 per barrel, says chief economist of “Renaissance capital” Oleg Kuzmin. If oil prices drop to $50 per barrel, the dollar will rise to 64 rubles, he adds. From the second quarter of the ruble exchange rate may begin to decrease due to the increase in demand for foreign currency to pay foreign debts and reduce the current account surplus, allows Kuzmin. Now, therefore, in General, a good time to buy currency, but except for diversified savings, he adds.
Wednesday, January 18, main trading session on the Moscow exchange ended with the strengthening of the ruble to 59.3 rubles./$ that for 11 kopecks below Tuesday’s closing level. The price of Brent crude oil, according to the exchange ICE, at 19:00 MSK was $54,31 per barrel.