The Russian ruble tipped below RUB60 to the US dollar on January 5 for the first time since June 2015, selling for RUB59.5 half-way through the trading day on Moscow Stock Exchange. The official ruble rate set by the central bank for the holiday period ending January 9 is RUB60.6 per dollar.
The ruble's gains coincided with a 0.5% increase in Brent oil prices to $56.7 per barrel on the reporting day on the news that Iraq will effect oil output cuts in line with the Opec production limit agreement reached in November.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has argued that Russian industry already adapted to the RUB60/dollar rate and that further strengthening of the domestic currency would hamper competitiveness. Siluanov urged to cash the extra oil and gas revenues and channel them to the fiscal reserves.
The ruble has been struggling to recover since losing 20% of its value in just 24 hours on December 16, 2014, amid crashing oil prices and Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
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