In 2016, the ruble has skirted with all time lows as crude oil has collapsed, US and European sanctions have cut off lines to cheap credit, and inflation is pushing double digits. However, the rising price of gold could give the ruble a reprieve and even save the currency.
Sam Mcculloch — The yellow metal, whose price has risen almost 20% in the last few weeks, represents 13% of Russia’s total foreign exchange reserves.
In 2015, Russia increased its reserves by 208.4 metric tons to 1415 metric tons total, a 17% increase. The total value at the end of December was around $48.6 billion when gold was trading at its six year lows of $1062. Now with the massive rise of gold since the end of 2015, the expected value of Russia’s reserves is around $61.8 billion.
Additionally, in this period, the US dollar has declined in price. The DXY, a geometrically weighted basket of six currencies containing the euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, has fallen almost 5% and shows no sign of bottoming out.
Thus, while oil is skirting with decade old lows and has severely impacted the value of the ruble, the rapid rise in gold may be able to help the Russian central bank stem off some of the pressure on its currency. In fact, the ruble has been gaining in value to the dollar in relation to the price of gold and if gold continues its upward spike, the ruble may be able to claw back some of its previous loses against the dollar.
While the ruble ultimately will be connected to the price of oil at the end of the day, Russia’s smart move to bolster its gold reserves over the past several years is finally paying off.