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As Biden’s election odds improve, the Russian ruble sinks

October 2, 2020, 4:19 PM UTC

The Russian ruble has emerged as a barometer of Donald Trump’s chances of winning the election.

A slump in the currency in recent months has mirrored rising betting odds of Biden beating Trump on Nov. 3. After two days of gains, the ruble sank the most in emerging markets on Friday on news that the president had contracted the coronavirus.

The market is predicting a Democrat in the White House will more likely impose harsher sanctions on Russia, and the risk of such penalties might increase if the Kremlin tries to interfere in the vote to prevent a Biden victory.

The trend is the opposite of 2016, when the Russian currency appreciated as Trump gained in the polls. Trump promised during his campaign to heal battered relations with the Kremlin, but his presidency ended up mired in allegations that Russia influenced the vote to help him win.

Only the Turkish lira has performed worse than the ruble among major emerging markets in the past three months. Both currencies are down more than 10% against the dollar.