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Ruble reaches highest level – economy recovers



MoscowThe Russian ruble reached its highest value this year on Monday. The currency became one of the best performers in the first three months of the year after being one of the biggest losers.

The ruble gained over one percent against the dollar and always at a value of 55.3. Oil prices are one of the drivers of the ruble’s rise on the day. Brent May futures rose to $ 56.36 a barrel, up 3 percent after Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase its selling prices for crude oil in Asia. WTI was trading at $50.48 a barrel.The worst now appears to be over for the Russian economy, some economists report.

Russia’s currency rose from the bottom of the world to the best in the first quarter of 2015, defying all predictions as Bloomberg reported Monday. The ruble’s low against the dollar occurred on Dec. 16 when it had lost more than 20 percent and when one dolla could buy 80 rubles. It ended as the second worst performing currency in the world after the Ukrainian hryvnia.

However, the Russian currency recovered 4.4 percent in the first quarter. Last week, the ruble hit a 3-month high, an improvement of more than 3.6 percent in 2 days. A variety of factors affect the ruble, making it one of the toughest tasks to forecast it in the financial markets. The ceasefire in Ukraine may also be a determining factor in the behavior of the Russian currency.

However, economists remain divided on the future of the Russian currency – while some predict there will be a drop to declining oil prices, the others say the first quarter ruble gains are expected to continue going.

Economists have recently been scrutinizing the Russian economy as well. Last week, U.S. bank JPMorgan revised its forecast for Russia’s GDP. It is expected to decline by 4 percent, rather than 5 percent.

Economists from Russia and the U.S. agreed last month that the Russian economy has recovered from the worst and praised it as an underestimated possibility. Moreover, Western economic sanctions would not have a significant impact on the Russian economy.

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