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FX Week: «Reserve claim made for rouble»

MOSCOW — The rouble could one day be the world’s major reserve currency, according to Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s first deputy prime minister. On the same day as he made the claim, the rouble officially acquired its new symbol.

Medvedev was speaking last Tuesday (June 13) at the 10th International Economic Forum in St Petersburg. On that day, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a federal law, On changes of article 4 of the federal law On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia), which means the rouble has its symbol approved by the Central Bank of Russia. Putin has long been an advocate of making the rouble a convertible currency by July 1 this year (FX Week, May 15).

Igor Souzdaltsev, a project manager at Investsberbank and president of ACI Russia in Moscow, said the fact these two steps are being taken on the same day is clearly aimed at proving the government wants a strong rouble. «The world’s reserve currency is always a hard currency, and we may see a very significant strengthening of the rouble soon,» he said.

«Given the rumours that Medvedev could be the next Russian president, the situation looks like the presidential campaign of 2008 just began and the policy of a strong rouble will be one of the attractive political issues for Medvedev as a presidential candidate,»
added Souzdaltsev.

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