Ruble Caps Best Performance among Emerging Market Currencies in 2019: Report

The Russian ruble performed the best among the 15 emerging market currencies in 2019, appreciating on average by +11.6% against the other currencies in the basket, the latest edition of the Moodie Davitt SPEND Index has shown.

The Thai Baht was second with a +8.0% increase. Both the Russian Ruble and the Thai Baht are regarded as “emerging market” currencies – effectively meaning that they are more volatile and subject to major swings in their valuation compared to currencies from more mature and stable economies.

The nationalities and travelers that benefited the most from currency movements in 2019 (see table above) are those from Russia and Thailand. Additional nationalities that saw their currency and SPEND power strengthened are those from Canada, the UK, and Switzerland. Currency values and rates of exchange on 31 December 2019 have been compared to those valid on 31 December 2018.

With a SPEND Index at 89.72, as for Russia, a basket of products that cost 100.00 rubles on 31 December 2018 now only costs 89.72 rubles on average (all countries and destinations), a significant saving of +10.3%.

“The Ruble ranks as the world’s seventh most volatile currency – any prediction about the Ruble’s continued strength and even strengthening in 2020 may be a very risky bet indeed,” the report says.

The Russian currency rebounded in 2019 from a weak and troubled 2018 that included some excessive sell-offs. The strengthening of the Ruble was supported by the Russian stock market closing 2019 as the best globally in U.S. Dollar terms, a lack of new sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the EU, stable oil prices, and several rate cuts by the Bank of Russia, which helped boost economic growth.

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