Russian ruble hits all-time 2015 high

RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov
The Russian currency is seemingly making a comeback, improving more than 3.6 percent in 2 days to bring the ruble to a 3-month high. The climb is attributed to a slight increase in oil prices as well as the approaching tax season.

At 5:05pm in Moscow, the ruble had gained 1.8 percent against the dollar at 56.78, and 1.35 percent stronger at 62.24 versus the euro. On Tuesday the ruble gained 2 percent against the dollar, closing at 57.70.The last time that the ruble strengthened to 57 against the dollar was December 30 of last year. In 2015, it has gained 5.2 percent against the dollar.

Russian companies are likely converting foreign currency into rubles to pay corporate taxes, the largest of which fell due on March 25. The next date to watch is March 30, when companies will have to pay corporate profit tax. Another factor driving up the ruble’s value is the fact that the peak debt payment deadlines have passed.

The bump in the ruble coincided with improvements in oil prices. WTI crude oil increased 1.07 percent to $48.02 a barrel and Brent improved 1.25 percent to $55.80 per barrel

Trading at its highest value against the dollar since January 5, the ruble, which experienced enormous volatility in the last months of 2014, is slowly gaining back ground.

Low oil prices, sanctions, and geopolitical conflict have all been weighing on the ruble, which lost more than 45 percent of its value in 2014. In November, the Central Bank allowed the ruble to free-float about two months ahead of schedule, which played a large role in the currency’s devaluation.

Gross domestic product in Russia is expected to fall by 3.5-4 percent in 2015, according to the Central Bank. In 2014, the economy expanded by 0.5 percent.