Russia’s rouble is pulling back from a 20-month high against the dollar as concerns over contact between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Moscow mount.
Though also helped by a stronger oil price and a more stable economy last year, the rouble hit a clear stride after Donald Trump’s victory, gaining as much as 11.4 per cent on the dollar since November 9. It hit an intraday high of Rub56.5578 against the greenback on February 15, the strongest level since July 16, 2015.
That same day last month, US lawmakers introduced legislation to require congressional approval for lifting sanctions on Russia after former national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid allegations he had illegally discussed US sanctions with Russia’s ambassador. The Russian currency has since softened 3.8 per cent from its peak to Rub58.701 per dollar.
This week has seen another round of revelations, culminating in attorney general Jeff Sessions recusing himself from an investigation into the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia following reports that the former Alabama senator had failed to disclose contact with Russia’s ambassador in Senate confirmation hearings.
After closing 0.9 per cent weaker on Thursday as Mr Sessions’s troubles mounted, the rouble is trading 0.2 per cent stronger in Friday Asia trade, putting it 0.6 per cent softer for the week to date. It is still 8.1 per cent stronger against the dollar since the election.