The ruble is turning into a “super-carry” trade thanks to high yields on Russian bonds and near-zero yields on everything else.
Russia’s currency, which has weakened from November through December in four of the past five years, is also likely to fall this year as oil inventories in the US were higher than expected and Russia hit a new post-Soviet production high in October of 11.2mn barrels a day, all of which should bring the price of oil down somewhat as the year closes. However, bond holders are not selling their Russian fixed income paper as, “where else will they go?”, as one trader asks.
Borrowing dollars at close to 0% to buy assets denominated in the Russian currency has handed investors more than 7% in the past three months, the most among 31 major currencies, reports Bloomberg.
The trades will more than double that gain by the end of next year by returning 15%, second only to investing in Argentina’s peso, according to forecasts compiled by Bloomberg. Citigroup Inc., the biggest foreign-exchange trader, has said Russia is engineering a “super-carry” currency.
The ruble has climbed steadily all year, starting at a record low of 85.999 per dollar in January to rise to about 63.7 as of the end of October. That’s a 15% gain this year and could set course for the ruble’s first annual gain in 2016 since 2012. Two out of three of the 20 analysts Bloomberg surveyed said they don’t expect a correction in Russia’s currency before the year is out.
“The market is yield-hungry,” Tom Levinson, senior foreign-exchange and interest-rate strategist in Moscow at Sberbank CIB, told Bloomberg.
Sberbank is forecasting that the ruble will climb toward 61 per dollar by year-end. “As long as global volatility stays benign, then these trades can remain popular,” the bank commented.