Let me be wrong
By all indications, our pessimistic forecasts for the March ruble began to come true (Spring forecast: the ruble as a March hare). After a protracted but very gradual decline in the exchange rates of Russian money, a serious ruble pullback took place in the outgoing week.
So, already on Wednesday, March 17, our national currency fell against the dollar to almost 74 rubles, against the euro - to more than 88. It's still a long way to the marks outlined by your authors, but the trend is not the most positive. So why is Biden "turning" the ruble ...
In general, it would be quite good at the end of March to admit our serious mistake, and at the same time to take for granted the enviable stability in domestic finances. However, alas, too strong dependence of the ruble on external factors dictates otherwise.
However, in fact, this very dependence is not at all in the ruble, but in our economic community in the executive branch, whose decisions are regularly approved by the legislative branch by a qualified majority.
Although this, in fact, is no longer an addiction, but a psychological readiness to be addicted, which is covered by the words about
"Deep integration into the world market"
and the need
"Keep government reserves in reliable and highly liquid assets."
And this kind of passages regularly fit into all the fundamental financial documents of the country, up to the federal budget. So it looks like we will have to make mistakes in our predictions in the future.
Although it is not yet evening - that is, not even April 1.
Is weakness strong?
The reason for the weakness of the ruble is known - these are new US sanctions, backed up by a tough statement from the State Department. It is said to the whole world that Russia is on the list of countries with which exports and imports are completely prohibited. weapons and defense services.
It is difficult to say exactly how the arms embargo affects the global ruble underestimation. But only the lazy is not talking about her today. However, the domestic Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank regularly reiterate their commitment to the undervalued exchange rate.
Nevertheless, the whole mass of benefits that this brings does not negate the fact that a weak ruble, as before, poses a threat to financial stability and directly stimulates a decrease in the well-being of citizens. As usual, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
The pandemic, alas, only spurred on such an unpleasant trend. The ruble is primarily affected by the export of oil and gas. Exports of defense products and food, of which it is now customary to be so proud, make a very insignificant contribution to Russia's foreign exchange earnings.
The sanctions hit just the oil and gas industry. And the pressure on Nord Stream 2 is caused precisely by this. And by no means a desire to promote American LNG to the European market. And not even the problems of Ukraine and its doomed transit.
At the bottom or below the waterline
The advantage of military and agricultural exports is that they are not controlled by state sanctioners. Therefore, the United States is playing against a competitor primarily by sanctions on the national debt. But there we have everything and so "at the bottom", as in Gorky.
Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that after a local rollback, the ruble will again slowly but surely creep up. Unless, of course, the Bank of Russia goes to the next issue, which, in fact, is really fraught with a jump in inflation.
It is no coincidence that in the past few weeks there have been regular reports of a possible increase in the discount rate, or rather, as it is now customary to call it, the key rate of the Bank of Russia. And supposedly this will be done just to prevent price increases.
In fact, prices, due to the higher rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, no matter how far from the real credit life, can only rise. Another thing is that the potential for their growth is now constrained by the main thing - the strongest decline in consumer growth in recent years.
And you have to add to this the fact that the overwhelming majority of the population is now left with a record low, for the entire era of the rule of Yeltsin's successors, financial reserves.
Divorce or matchmaking?
The new batch of sanctions is more like shooting at sparrows than any of the previous ones. Now, if Russia began to shut off oil and gas taps, which is being done in reality, but somehow sluggishly, it would be serious.
But even in this case, it would not be as difficult to find solutions as it might seem - dealers, on whom no sanctions apply, are in abundance all over the world. In addition, we must not forget that Russia is one of the key players in the series of OPEC + deals.
To exclude someone from such a supercontract just at the whim of the owner of the White House, no matter how eccentric they turn out to be, is something beyond the realm of fantasy. If even because of Iran, Europe almost divorced the United States, right down to collecting toys from the sandbox, then do not even try to force her to “go big” on Russia.
We will not tire of repeating - almost seven years of sanctions, which are more and more harsh every year, have led to only one thing - to a real economic decoupling of Russia from the United States and the EU. External signs and solid, in spite of everything, the turnover of mutual trade of this fact in no way cancel.
One gets the impression that literally everyone (on both sides of the border) has words at odds with deeds, as if it should be so. We seem to be pointing at the door, but we are at the window, or rather, at the chimney. Both oil and gas.
We (more precisely, those of us who have less material problems than most) almost shout -
"We don't need you"
but they themselves are ready to bow down, only to be considered as their own.
It remains to be noted that at the beginning of 2021, the ruble was something of an exception among world currencies. He grew steadily and consistently. And it seemed to grow on oil, although the growing oil did not push up all the other "raw" currencies.
And after all, then literally all others fell to the dollar - not otherwise than being frightened of the coming to power of Democrats - supporters of "financiers" (and not "realists", like Donald Trump personally, the poor fellow, banned on Twitter). And by no means Republicans in their mass.