Russian rouble firms on deal to cut oil output

Madiha Shakeel December 10, 2018

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble firmed slightly on Monday, lifted by the decision by global oil producers to cut crude output and as the market awaited central bank meeting later this week which should shed light on its plan to resume daily foreign currency buying.

OPEC and its Russia-led allies agreed on Friday to slash oil production by more than the market had expected despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to reduce the price of crude.

At 0729 GMT, the rouble was 0.2 percent stronger against the dollar at 66.27 as Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.6 percent at $62.03 a barrel.

Versus the euro, the rouble was steady at 75.77 versus the euro.

“The key event for the rouble is the CBR’s monetary policy decision this Friday, when the regulator should also clarify its near-term strategy with regards to the open market FX operations under the fiscal rules framework,” VTB Capital said in a note.

At its last meeting in October, the central bank kept its key rate at 7.50 percent. On Friday it will likely choose between holding the rate steady again or raising it to address risks of higher inflation, its main remit.

The central bank will also give details of its plan to resume buying foreign currency on behalf of the finance ministry from 2019, which was halted earlier this year to ease downward pressure on the rouble.

Russian stock indexes were down, tracing moves on the global market, with U.S. equity futures and Asian shares sliding on worries over slowing growth.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.5 percent at 1,152.4 points and the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4 percent lower at 2,422.9 points.

Copyright Reuters, 2018

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