Russia Expects Low Inflation to Aid Long-Term Ruble Stability

Low inflation would support a stable ruble rate in the long term, said Alexander Morozov, head of the analytical department at the Bank of Russia. The official added the level of dollarization in the Russian economy was expected to gradually fall to 15 percent, Reuters reported.

The ruble can play a greater role in the former Soviet republics, according to the Central Bank of Russia. The Russian currency is seeking to compete with the U.S. dollar in trade with the Eurasian Economic Union and CIS countries.

In January, the Bank of Russia assessed the ruble can expand in the EAEU, a trade and political bloc uniting Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. It can also develop in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the bank says.

Ruble transactions in the EAEU are currently worth the equivalent of $69 billion, compared to $18 billion and $5 billion in euros. In the last six years, the share of ruble settlements in the union has increased from 56 to 75 percent, while the share of the dollar has decreased from 35 to 19 percent.

The successful promotion of the ruble is the result of Russia’s growing dominance in the post-Soviet region. Moscow now has plans to switch to trade in national currencies with other countries as well.

Russia is in negotiations with numerous countries, in particular, Turkey, Egypt and Iran, but the biggest problem is that the Russian currency has been volatile in recent years. After oil prices collapsed, so did the ruble against the dollar, plummeting from 30 to more than 80 against the greenback. It has stabilized to 56-57 against the dollar, being one of the few currencies to gain against the dollar in the past 52 weeks.

The Russian authorities also regard BRICS countries among the key markets for promoting the currency. In Russian-Indian trade, the share of foreign currencies, mostly the dollar, has dropped from 96 to 80 percent. Moscow and Beijing have increased the share of ruble-yuan trade from 13 to 16 percent in the last year.