The worst is yet to come

RUSSIA’S currency, the rouble, had a terrible 2014. As oil prices collapsed and Western sanctions bit, export revenues slumped. Nervous investors pulled $150 billion from the country. As a result, the rouble lost about half its value against the dollar (see chart). But over the past few months, it has climbed out of its trough. Russian bonds and stocks have done well, too. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has been cutting interest rates—an unthinkable prospect just a few months ago. On April 30th it lowered its main rate from 14% to 12.5%. All this, some say, is proof that investors are too pessimistic about the Russian economy. They are wrong.

Oil prices have risen slightly since the start of the year. That is helpful for an economy where the stuff provides half of all exports. The cheaper rouble has buoyed exports, too. A new deal to end the Russian-backed insurgency in Ukraine, signed in February, has also made investors less jittery.

Nonetheless, the rouble’s strength is a puzzle, since in many ways the Russian economy looks worse than it did in December. Inflation, at 16.9%, is 5.6 percentage points higher, a...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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