The Russian ruble continued to make gains against the euro and U.S. dollar in the first two days of trading in 2017 after ending last year as the second-best performer among emerging market currencies.
The ruble ended trading in Moscow at 60.51 to the dollar and 62.76 to the euro on January 3.
However, the Russian currency is still a long way below the levels it reached before the West imposed economic sanctions on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine in 2014.
The currency has been lifted in recent weeks by surging oil prices and optimism about an impending return to growth in the Russian economy as well as possible improvements in U.S.-Russian relations under the U.S. presidency of Donald Trump, among other factors.
Only the Brazilian real performed better than Russia's currency, which strengthened by 70 percent against the U.S. dollar last year.
The ruble's performance is all the more remarkable because it is occurring as the U.S. dollar has soared against most other currencies and is approaching parity with the euro, said Alessandro Bruno, analyst with the Lombardi Letter.
"The ruble could be the hottest currency of 2017" after its stellar performance in 2016, which Bruno said vindicated Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategy of resisting U.S. and European sanctions.
Based on reporting by Lombardy Letter, Interfax, and RT.com