Ruble Firms After Moody’s Upgraded Russia’s Credit Rating

The Russian ruble has gained ground on the U.S. dollar and the euro on Monday after this weekend’s decision by global credit rating agency Moody’s to upgrade Russia’s sovereign rating to investment grade Baa3 with a stable outlook, Reuters reported.

The ruble was trading at 65.85 against the greenback at 07:50 GMT, rising by 0.17 percent on Monday and marking a nearly three-percent gain on the year.

The Russian currency is trading 0.18 percent higher against the euro at 74.34, representing a 3.8 percent growth since January 1.

Russian stock indexes opened higher with the dollar-denominated RTS index up 0.7 percent to 1,207.5 points, while the ruble-based MOEX grew by 0.4 percent to 2,513.3 points.

“The upgrade is likely to support the rouble and OFZs, which could be easily limited by fear of upcoming U.S. sanctions,” said Vladimir Miklashevsky, senior economist and trading desk strategist at Danske Bank in Helsinki.

Domestic investors will remain cautious on the stock market and the rouble until clarity around U.S. sanctions emerges, Otkritie Brokerage said in a note.

On Friday, Moody’s announced the upgrade of Russia’s economy from Ba1 to Baa3, acknowledging the “positive impact” of government policies that managed to strengthen the country’s already robust public finances and may potentially help Moscow withstand possible U.S. sanctions.

The agency noted that Washington is highly likely to introduce further anti-Russian sanctions in the coming months.

“The sovereign’s vulnerability to such shocks has indeed materially diminished, and no longer constrains the rating to sub-investment grade,” Moody’s said.