The Russian ruble just keeps getting stronger as Brent crude is up around six-month highs.
The petrocurrency is up 1.0% at 64.8087 per dollar as of 2:02 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, Brent crude is up by 2.4% at $49.00 per barrel.
Also, notably, the latest flash estimate from Rosstat showed that the Russian economy contracted by 1.2% year-over-year in the first quarter – significantly above the consensus expectation of a 2.0% drop.
It declined by 3.8% y/y in the previous quarter.
“Today’s data confirm that the acute phase of the economic crisis is now over and our forecast for the economy to contract by 1.3% y/y this year looks a little too pessimistic,” wrote Capital Economics’ Liza Ermolenko in a note to clients after the data crossed.
“But even so, given the numerous headwinds facing the Russian economy, we still expect the recovery to be disappointingly weak,” she added.
As for the rest of the world, here’s the scoreboard:
- The South African rand crashed after reports that the finance minister might be arrested. It dropped by as much as 2.1% to 15.7275 per dollar around 9:35 a.m. ET, but is now down by 1.4% at 15.6233.
- The Indian rupee is stronger by 0.2% at 66.891 per dollar after Indian wholesale price inflation surged sharply in April, and finally returned to positive territory. WPI inflation came in at up 0.3% year-over-year, a huge surge from the 0.9% drop year-over-year in March. “…we think it will accelerate further over the coming months,” wrote Capital Economics’ Shilan Shah in a note to clients.
- The Thai baht is little changed 35.408 after the latest data showed that the economy grew by 3.2% in the first quarter compared to a year earlier, above economists expectations. “Thailand’s economy got off to a solid start to 2016, but high household debt and continued political uncertainty are likely to drag down growth again over the coming quarters,” argued Capital Economics’ Krystal Tan in a note to clients after the data crossed.
- The dollar index is little changed at 94.56 after the Empire State Manufacturing index plunges more than expected and homebuilder sentiment stayed unchanged for the 4th straight month.