Why wait for a break
Let's start with a small digression from the topic of the ruble.
The resumption of work on the Danish section of Nord Stream 2 was perceived by many as a challenge to the same US with its sanctions. And someone chose not to notice. For example, the former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank Sergey Aleksashenko (Gazprom will not go bankrupt, Miller will not be removed).
Moreover, such experts who once squandered the wonderful legacy of Viktor Gerashchenko in the Bank of Russia, and then set the trend for turning the Central Bank of the Russian Federation into something like a branch of the Federal Reserve System, seem to have no doubts about the inevitability of the ambitious project's failure.
This same liberal public to the marrow has no doubts that we do not particularly need a stable and strong ruble. No, of course, there is no need to look for a direct connection between the success of Nord Stream 2 and the exchange rate of the national currency. Although there is definitely an indirect one.
However, is it worth turning the sanctions, like everything connected with them, into a kind of bogey and, even more so, into a key rate-forming factor? And, in our opinion, the main thing is to do it not somewhere in social networks, but from the pages of popular and authoritative publications.
In several of them at once, we can now read this:
“The events of the outgoing week make us expect a further deterioration in relations with the United States and new sanctions, which, hypothetically, could affect both Russian state banks and the ruble government debt, and lead to disconnection from the SWIFT system. After the Democrats gained control over the Senate, the chances of this increased markedly.
We'll live until Friday
The forecast can be anything you like. Up to the harshly negative, as in this case. But stockbrokers are a nervous public. They can take everything for the truth.
And bring the ruble down overnight. However, just such a situation can become an excuse for the latest initiatives of the Ministry of Finance for the massive purchase of foreign currency, which we have already written in sufficient detail (Why does Siluanov need dollars and euros today?).
Meanwhile, on Monday, the ruble grew steadily against major currencies, and, as expected, began to decline gradually starting from Tuesday. And some kind of global turning point in one direction or another is not expected.
However, no one demands that the dollar again cost 90 kopecks, or at least the pre-default 6 rubles. We are not going to argue about the sentiments of global investors - we have written more than once that it would be nice for Russia to distance itself from them.
This is with her something oil and gas (that is, if you wish, 100 rubles secured) with huge reserves and resources. And even if there is still no turning point in the fight against COVID-19, this does not mean that it is time to just give up.
However, the head of the analytical research department of the Higher School of Financial Management, Mikhail Kogan, predicts something absurd (excuse the frankness and let him at least sue).
For example, that the response to signals coming, as you need to understand, directly from Washington, will be the formation for the euro and the dollar
"An impulse with an increase to 92,4 and 76,5 rubles, respectively."
This is by February.
Let's see and check. Although, by and large, for many Russians - what's the difference. They do not shine abroad, they are much more important - an increase in wages and price stability within the country.
The ruble is still alive today
But the fact that Europe and the United States still cannot cope with COVID-19 should have played just in favor of the ruble. In Russia, the trend towards stabilization of the pandemic situation is no longer in doubt, even from the frightening look of Ms. Popova.
Alarming are coming news from China, on the agenda - British and others like him strains? But what does the Russian ruble have to do with it, after all?
Our economy is not tied to the world economy to such an extent that we can immediately drop the currency. Domestic demand is improving, exports are not decreasing.
In fact, in favor of the ruble, if not all, then a lot. And we must use this. Even if not to increase the rate, but at least - to maintain.
The risk of sanctions is not as great as some experts and politicians portray, and most often officials from the economic block of the government. Most importantly, their potential has been practically exhausted.
The hasty attempts to slow down Nord Stream 2 in one way or another confirm this assessment. If someone wants to buy something, and there is a seller who is willing to sell, they will always find a way to avoid interference from a third party.
And if you are already seriously talking about the prospect of disconnecting Russia or specific Russian companies and banks from the SWIFT international settlement system, then you just need to prepare well for this.
But there are those who want to bury
With all this, even the most inveterate pessimists from among the experts are not yet going to finally bury the Russian currency. At the same Mikhail Kogan, the course of 100 rubles, it seems, was just spinning on the tongue, but it did not fail.
The financial system of the country, despite all the attempts of liberals from the economy, today is both balanced and reliable. Analysts such as, for example, Alexander Razuvaev from Alpari and expert from RISS, Mikhail Belyaev, believe that today, in general, there are no serious reasons for the growth of the dollar.
They draw attention to the ineffectiveness of all US sanctions, and even the release of Iranian oil on the market does not scare them. He just confirms that if you are afraid of sanctions, then you should not engage in stimulating and even simply saving the economy.
The easiest way, in general, is to move to the position of a semi-colonial power, sitting on the credit needle of the IMF and the leading countries of the world. However, there are still those who, not only through the government officialdom, are ready to admit negativity.
Thus, Anton Lyubich, a member of the General Council of Delovaya Rossiya, which is extremely loyal to the current government, said that not only the euro, but also the dollar could rise to 100 rubles. True, under certain conditions. For which, of course, a special thank you.
In his opinion, it is just the new US sanctions against Russia, as well as the lowering of oil prices, which
"Can never be ruled out"
- the main factors that can weaken the ruble. At the same time, Lyubich believes that the internal situation in the country affects the stability of the ruble.
But this same expert, oddly enough, is sure that now Russia is not threatened with new sanctions. Nevertheless, he has practically no doubts about such a rate as 80–82 rubles per dollar.
Nothing can be ruled out today
You can't. Even taking into account the overt peg of the ruble to the completely unreliable, but not yet hopeless euro and dollar. Vaccines are vaccines, but the next cataclysm, like 2008, cannot be ruled out now either.
Due to the pumping of the economies of the United States and the European Union with unsupported antivirus trillions, such a scenario is becoming more and more likely. However, in the event of a cataclysm, others will be involved in saving world currencies. And above all China, if only for the sake of preserving sales markets.
Once upon a time, the American Federal Reserve very competently turned the Japanese economy, or rather, its financial system, into something like an inexhaustible reserve reservoir. Interest rates on the yen were traditionally the lowest in the world for a reason, and for the best American banks - even negative.
Then this capacity was not enough, but China came forward to the role of the No. 2 economy in the world. The yuan, although not the yen, is also quite suitable for the role of a reserve for the dollar. And in some sense it is even better - in which case, all the problems can be blamed on the "damn communists" from the Middle Kingdom.
It is from a scrupulous analysis of financial disturbances against the backdrop of a pandemic that the most persistent feeling is that Covid-19 was launched through a Chinese filter for a reason.
Although the trial ball is still not pocketed.