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EMERGING MARKETS-Rouble retreats after rate cut and new oil price drop
February 2, 2015 / 10:12 AM / 3 years ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Rouble retreats after rate cut and new oil price drop

LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Russia’s rouble retreated on Monday, depressed by the central bank’s unexpected decision on Friday to cut rates, a sharp reversal in oil prices and renewed violence in Ukraine.

The rouble was 1.5 percent weaker against the dollar, while Russian stocks also dropped, with the local currency MICEX index falling close to 1 percent.

Rouble volatility -- a measure of expected swings in a currency -- is on the rise again following the rate cut, having previously fallen to two month lows. One month rouble/dollar volatility now trades at 42

“The one institution in Russia that had earned a bit of credibility was the central bank and by going ahead with this rate cut they have undermined that,” said UBS strategist Manik Narain.

“The cut sent a strange signal on central bank willingness to support the rouble plus the geo-pol situation has become worse and there is the risk of deeper sanctions when the EU meets in 10 days time.”

Weak oil also weighed on energy exporting Nigeria, which saw continued violence from Islamist militant group Boko Haram over the weekend, leaving the naira more than 1 percent lower against the dollar.

Nigeria-focused oil producer Afren, listed in London, saw its shares jump more than 40 percent after lenders agreed to give it a month’s grace for debt payments.

In other emerging markets, Shanghai shares dropped 2.5 percent after PMI data showed China’s factory sector unexpectedly shrank in January for the first time in 2-1/2 years.

Turkey’s lira gained close to 1 pct against the dollar, recovering some ground from the record low touched last week as investors anticipated an interest rate cut as the country’s government calls for easier monetary policy.

Turkey’s central bank chief said on Monday the bank will decide whether to hold a special policy meeting on the basis of inflation data due to be published on Tuesday.

“The CBT-government arguing increases doubts about the central bank’s independence and should accelerate capital outflows, despite carry-favorable conditions,” online broker Swissquote told clients.

Eastern European currencies were also stronger, with Poland’s zloty rising 0.8 percent following data showing manufacturing activity grew at the fastest rate in 11 months in January.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2015, see

For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2015, see

For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging Europe performance 2015, see

For GRAPHIC on MSCI frontier index performance 2015, see

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see ) (Reporting by Chris Vellacott and Sujata Rao; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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