Oil bounce revives Gulf nations but not Nigeria or Russia

December 02, 2014 | Commodities & Oilprice

London, UK | – An oil price bounce helped Gulf stock markets higher on Tuesday, although Russian and Nigerian currencies remained under pressure on persistent doubts over their central banks’ ability to provide support.

With Brent crude trading at about $72, breaking a five-day losing streak, the rouble staged a brief rally but headed lower again, losing 1.4 percent against the dollar.

Unease is growing about the Russian central bank’s absence from currency markets despite heavy rouble losses, amounting to almost 6 percent at one point on Monday. The bank last month floated the rouble which has been battered for months by falling oil and the impact of Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

“The extreme volatility we are witnessing in the rouble is something that should not be allowed by a central bank to happen. The gyrations that the rouble is facing on a daily basis is not a normal situation and shows that no one is in charge at the moment,” Commerzbank analyst Simon-Quijano Evans said in a note to clients.

Russian stocks also failed to benefit from stronger oil prices, but in the Middle East, Saudi stocks surged nearly 1 percent, after a slump that had wiped out gains for the year. Oman’s benchmark index jumped 2.5 percent.

Nigeria’s naira dropped for a third straight session to a new record low after the central bank’s intervention failed to keep the currency within its new, devalued target range.

MSCI emerging equities rose 0.3 percent, lifted by 3 percent gains in China, its biggest one-day rise since September 2013.

Indian bonds rallied after the central bank held rates steady, but said it could ease policy early next year. Ten-year yields slipped to 8 percent, the lowest since July 2013 and some predicted this at 7.5 percent once cuts materialise.

“The bond market is running ahead, but there’s more conviction about policy easing by February,” said A. Prasanna, economist with ICICI Securities in Mumbai.

South African and Turkish yields rose slightly after hitting 18-month lows on Monday due to disinflation expectations.

Israel’s shekel meanwhile fell 1 percent to two-year lows, hit by a political crisis caused by splits within the cabinet.