The rouble dropped more than one per cent on Friday morning despite a sharp rise in the price of oil, as a US airstrike on the Syrian government highlighted growing tensions between the US and Russia.
The rouble has been the best-performing currency in the world over the last 12 months, rallying more than 19 per cent on a combination of rising oil prices and hopes that the Trump administration’s call for a normalisation of relations would lead to a lifting of economic sanctions.
Oil prices jumped after the US intervention raised fears about the possible disruption of middle-east supplies. However, while higher oil prices would normally spell good news for the rouble, investors were discouraged by signs the attack could damage the recent Russo-US rapprochement.
The Kremlin condemned the US move as a “violation of international law”, and suspended its channel for communicating military action in Syria with Washington.
The rouble fell as much as low as 57.1405 per dollar on Friday morning, and at publication time was 0.8 per cent weaker for the day at 56.8050. It was the worst-performing emerging market currency by a strong margin.