The expert assessed the probability of raising the key rate of the Central Bank: “Approximately 60 to 40”


– Nikita Ivanovich, according to rumors, the speed of the devaluation of the ruble has already alarmed the Kremlin. Some worried observers call what is happening “the rebellion of Nabiulinna” – by analogy with the well-known events of two weeks ago. Someone, however, blames the government as a whole, suspecting it of deliberate devaluation in order to improve budget performance. Elvira Sakhipzadovna herself and other representatives of the leadership of the Central Bank do not see any threat to financial stability in the sharp weakening of the ruble, explaining it, so to speak, by natural causes. What interpretation do you lean towards? What was it, as they say, or rather, what is happening?

– You know, if we talk about the rebellion, then this is the rebellion of the balance of payments. The current account surplus is a fundamental, fundamental parameter that controls the dynamics of the exchange rate, and from January to May, inclusive, it decreased by 5.4 times – year on year. Well, the trade surplus also fell sharply.

These fundamental indicators have long been pushing the ruble to weaken. Then Prigozhin’s rebellion, of course, gave a negative background to the foreign exchange market. Plus, there is a suspicion that a factor related to the increased purchase of foreign currency by Russian purchasers of the assets of outgoing foreign companies – in order to carry out a buyout – played a role.

Compositions related to factors that directly affect the dollar exchange rate have also been added. First of all, these are quite intense signals from the US Federal Reserve that they will continue to raise the key rate. This always encourages currency players to play for the appreciation of the dollar. And it all came together at the end of last – at the beginning of this week. Parade of planets!

On Thursday, the dollar rose above 93 rubles. But then it went down a bit. This suggests that currency players, realizing that such an anomalous surge will not last long, began to take profits. Well, then, if, for example, oil grows successfully, then maybe we will go below 90.

At least, the corridor that many of my colleagues see in the near future is 85-90 rubles per dollar. So, I think the situation will most likely level off in the next few days. Nevertheless, it will still remain quite tense. High ruble volatility will continue. And, apparently, this will force the Central Bank to some tightening of monetary policy.

I do not rule out that there may be foreign exchange interventions, and there may be some other measures. It already depends on what they have, so to speak, in the piggy bank and what they can use. In principle, the set of tools is quite well developed. The only question is to turn it on or not, to press this button or not.

Let’s see what will happen on July 21, at the meeting of the Central Bank, which will be devoted to the key rate. Already the weakening of the ruble that has taken place will give a certain inflationary effect. There is such a thing as the effect of the transfer of the ruble exchange rate to domestic prices. This may push annual inflation close to the upper limit of the Central Bank’s forecast corridor, which is now 4.5 – 6.5. Well, let’s see what they tell us on July 21st.

– How likely is it, in your opinion, that the Central Bank will raise the rate?

– The probability, in my opinion, is about 60 to 40 in favor of an increase. It is extremely important how exchange rate fluctuations and the trend develop in the period from Monday to the beginning of the second decade of the month. Here you have to look carefully. Perhaps the likelihood of this will decrease.

If the Central Bank really goes for it, according to market participants, to increase by about 25 basis points, to 7.75 percent, then this will most likely stabilize the exchange rate and maybe even push it towards strengthening.

As for the benefits of a weak ruble for the budget, the depreciation of the exchange rate really gives a non-torsion increase in the ruble price of a barrel. But for the sake of this, it seems to me pointless to bring down the ruble. The current weakening of the exchange rate does not solve the problem of lost oil and gas revenues. What, to a hundred of it or something to collapse in order to close this gap? But it’s completely pointless. Then we will definitely start having problems with inflation.

– Every day we are told: the ruble has not been so cheap, and the dollar and the euro have not been so expensive since March 2022. But in full, do you think March 2022 will not happen again?

– I think no. As long as we are guaranteed. First of all – the experience of the Central Bank. Secondly, the state of the foreign exchange market. Today, the situation here is already qualitatively different than in March 2022. Although such a range of exchange rate fluctuations, of course, raises questions. Of course, it requires a thorough study of the totality of factors that caused it.

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