Russian assets are again in the spotlight after the nation paid some dollar debts last week, a relief to investors who feared the nation would use rubles and thereby trigger a default. However, with the country on the hook for more foreign-currency payments in coming weeks, default risk remains significant. Trading in sovereign ruble bonds is poised to restart this week even as the nation’s stock market stays closed Monday.
Commodity-linked currencies are meanwhile set for further outperformance due to the high price of natural resources. Australia has banned shipments to Russia of alumina, the key ingredient for producing aluminum. Japan, a major oil importer, has asked the United Arab Emirates to increase crude exports.
Gauges of volatility in currencies, bonds and stocks have fallen in recent days as investors took heart from news that China didn’t want to see the invasion of Ukraine amid U.S. warnings against supporting Russia. With a slew of central-bank meetings also in the rearview mirror, investors will be looking to rejigger their portfolios and parse the global effects of the Fed’s first rate hike since 2018, alongside last week’s decisions from the Bank of England and Japanese monetary authority.
The next big question for investors is how many more hikes the Fed is planning for 2022 and what impact this will have on the U.S. economic outlook, with increased concern about recession following another inversion in the Treasury yield curve. A slew of Fed officials are set to speak this week, as are policy makers from the BOE and European Central Bank.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index finished last week down nearly 1%, with the greenback falling against all but one of its developed-market peers — the yen, which faces further losses after the Bank of Japan recommitted to keeping its monetary policy easy.
Meanwhile, Russian regulators are still exploring ways to reopen the country’s equity market, which has been closed since late February. The Bank of Russia will begin purchasing domestic sovereign bonds on Monday in an effort to stabilize that market as it reopens.