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- USD/RUB has shown little vulnerability to talks between Lavrov & Blinken today, trading in line with the broader EM trend and oil side developments.
- The currency has shown resilience to recent squabbles between officials outside of comments RE a potential Putin-Biden meeting. The likelihood of this meeting happening, along with the potential agenda, are key issues the market will be sensitive to, however.
- Rhetoric surrounding military escalation in the Donbas between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists has become more urgent in recent days, and a military move from Ukraine against the separatists will undoubtedly spark a Russian response – and, in turn, Western economic sanctions on Russia.
- While NATO or the US are unlikely to militarily step in to fight Russia directly on Ukraine’s behalf, any further moves towards military escalation will likely be met with economic sanctions. The hope here is that the Putin-Biden meeting can be held before any military action kicks off in the Donbas.
- While this Lavrov-Blinken meeting saw both sides stressing their current positions, the start of contacts and a dialogue is a step in the right direction, albeit marginal. Interestingly, the US called for a return to the Minsk format and more discussions on the matter, which will be an important precursor to any Biden-Putin contacts.
- For now, however, we continue to muddle through with RUB unperturbed by constant verbal threats from the West. Russia’s 5Y CDS continues to edge lower, but still remains elevated on the prospect of potential sanctions.