Russian stocks booming as ruble becomes best-performing emerging market currency

Global investors have been pouring money into the Russian stock market thanks to the country’s drive to curb inflation and conservative fiscal policy, rebounding commodity prices and the easing of US sanctions.

Data shows that foreign ownership of Russian bonds has surged to a five-month high (rising above 20% for the first time since April) while measures of credit risk have eased back to pre-Covid levels.

Analysts say that for investors who look for certainty, Russia has shown itself as a predictable environment with little risk of a sudden change or policy U-turns.

“Markets like the technocratic orientation of the Russian government,” Timothy Ash, an emerging-market strategist from BlueBay Asset Management, told Bloomberg. “It encourages them to look the other way when it comes to ESG [Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance].”

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Russian ruble makes top 20 popular currencies list

The Russian ruble is this year’s best performer among its emerging-market peers. It has also become one of the 20 most frequently used global currencies, according to the SWIFT interbank transfer system.

The ruble-denominated Moscow Stock Exchange Index (MOEX), which reflects the prices of the most liquid Russian stocks of the largest companies, has rallied 23% this year. The dollar-denominated RTS index has soared 26%.

With foreign-exchange reserves currently at a record-high of $621 billion, the Russian economy is expected to grow 3.9% this year.

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