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9 Sep, 2010 13:15

Long haul to rouble prominence

The Russian Rouble has a long way to go before become an internationally reserve currency, but it is beginning the long road to increased global use.

In the medium term the Russian currency is unlikely to become a global reserve currency according to Sergey Kamburov, of financial market operations at the Central Bank of Russia. He says that key economic issues, including inflation, economic diversification, and the level of financial market development need to be addressed.

“The key steps on the way to make rouble a reserve currency should be to boost the government bond market, stabilize and diversify the Russian economy and lower the inflation rate.”
Kamburov added that Russian economy also needed to diversify away from its traditional strength in energy and commodities.

Senior Economist, European Commission in Russia and Belarus, Lúcio Vinhas de Souza, says that despite this, in the shorter term, Russia can aspire to seeing its currency used more in bilateral trade with neighbouring countries, particularly Belarus and Kazakhstan which are joining Russia in a customs Union.

“Looking at positive tendencies of the Russia and CIS relations along with the establishment of the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan- the rouble can become a regional reserve currency.”

A key part of getting the rouble greater international recognition is actually using it where possible in trade according to Ruben Aganbegyan, the president of the MICEX.

“Getting rouble to be accepted in settlements in CIS is an important step and this is the first step towards the goal of making rouble a reserve currency worldwide.”

Darryl Hooker from I-CAP says the rouble is already attracting international interest.

The trading that we're seeing on the EBS platform is growing month by month. In the last 3-6 months we've seen a huge increase in volumes, and we would expect those volumes to double over the next six months. So there's massive outtake. We've seen counterparties in Hong Kong, in Singapore, in New York, in Chicago all looking at the rouble. So most of my inquiries now about rouble are actually coming from North America and Asia.”

Following an initiative from Russia's Central Bank and the People's Bank of China, the Micex aims to provide access to Yuan – rouble cross trading. MICEX Vice-President, Igor Marich says that the new trade pair will be launched before the end of the year.

The leverage has long lasting prospects assuming it has a growing interest from over a 30 of Russian banks along with Chinas subsidiary banks located in Russia. The trade will keep on boosting with the first phase small volumes operations under a 100% pre booking.”