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Ruble, Dollar – Brothers Forever

January 05, 2006 | Kommersant

For the U.S. dollar, this year will be a stormy one. Although the foreign exchange market will hardly go through any cataclysms, the fluctuations could be strong and unforeseen at times, RBC Daily forecasts.
The ruble of 2006 sampling will be manageable and secure, the analysts predict. Russia's government won't change front in respect of the currency policy, killing the ruble on inflation altar. In other words, the rate of ruble to dollar or euro will copy the movement of two basic currencies on the world markets. The range of 2006 forecasts is really broad, as predicting how the couple will walk this year is not an easy task to tackle.

As to the analysts referred to by the RBC Daily, they are somewhere in the middle, not expecting the dollar to move far away from today's values of between 1.17 and 1.19 per euro. The actual key to the world market stability is relations between the United States and China, to be more precise the surprisingly low rate of yuan still tolerated by the United States, the analysts pointed out.

In Russia, the past year proved beneficial for those with salaries calculated in dollars – the U.S. currency climbed from the rather modest 27.5 ruble/dollar early past year to 29 ruble/dollar in December, signaling the 5 percent rise in dollar-denominated wages, although the golden age of 32 ruble/dollar is yet only the afterglow for dollar adherents. This year will spring no surprise, either pleasant or lamentable, the analysts say. "We forecast stabilization of the ruble-to-dollar rate and appreciation of ruble to euro," said Alexey Vorobiev from Maxwell Capital. "By the end of the year, the ruble-to-euro rate will go up to 33.1, and the ruble will stand at 28.3 per dollar," he said, attributing his outlook to extension of the euro share in bi-currency basket of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). "The growth of euro share reduces volatility of the ruble-euro pair but intensifies it for the ruble-to-dollar pair."

The analysts see the 2006 ruble rather resistant to crude prices. It won't go up on inflow of currency revenues, they say. "The effect of crude prices on ruble is extremely low because of the Stabilization Fund," said Anton Struchenevsky from Troika Dialog. As long as the Stabilization Fund gets the lion's share of revenues generated by oilmen from crude exports, the money will be passing by the market of foreign exchange. On the other hand, the ruble will hardly be sacrificed to inflation. "I don't so much believe in fighting inflation through ruble appreciation," Struchenevsky specified. "The CBR itself acknowledges the low efficiency of such action. Indeed, according to our estimate, the ruble should be appreciated by between 8 percent and 10 percent to slash inflation by a percentage point." With reasonable judgment taken, no one would ever go that far, as it would kill economy, the analyst said, expecting the CBR to stick to the bi-currency policy. "Therefore, when speculating about the ruble's future, one should understand what would be happening to dollar and euro," he specified.

As to the dollar, the forecasts are different, starting from appreciation up to the euro value and ending by the drop to 1.40 per euro, Struchenevsky said.

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