Bloomberg ranked Russia as the country with the best global equity market performance on a total-return basis in dollar terms, with the ruble being ranked as the second-best currency worldwide after the Ukrainian hryvna. According to the outlet, the stability of global oil prices also allowed Russia’s Central Bank to cut interest rates five times in 2019, thereby potentially endowing businesses with cheaper credit.
The head of credit at Hermes Investment Management, Fraser Lundie, told Bloomberg that Russian companies were “generally speaking, in great shape”, as for many of them “things have rarely been better” following the stability in the oil sector and foreign-exchange markets.
Global markets overall showed “surprising” market resilience, Bloomberg analysts noted, despite escalations in the China-US economic confrontation and mounting uncertainty over Brexit. But Russia was not the only country that stood out in terms of total returns on stocks and bonds, with Greece also being among the best equity market performers, mainly due to the possibility of borrowing at negative interest rates from the European Central Bank during October.
In the meantime, Moscow, which has been under US economic pressure since 2013, has recently been facing the introduction of a new round of sanctions against Russia’s banks, energy sector, and cyber industry following the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s approval of the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA), which will now advance to a full Senate vote.