Rouble steadies vs dollar near lowest since May as oil prices edge up

Madiha Shakeel August 16, 2019

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble steadied on Friday near its weakest levels since early May following a volatile week as oil prices edged up and investors were digesting mixed signals on global markets.

At 0730 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 66.03, having touched a low of 66.59 the previous day, its lowest since May 3.

“The rouble remains vulnerable amid instability on global markets,” Nordea Bank analysts said.

On the global forex market, the dollar held onto gains on Friday after a surge in U.S. retail sales eased concerns about the world’s top economy, but traders cautioned against reading too much into one piece of data given the growing risks to the outlook.

Versus the euro, the rouble had gained 0.2% to trade at 73.27.

Prices for oil, Russia’s main export, rose more than 1% on Friday following two days of declines, buoyed after data showing an increase in retail sales in the United States helped dampen concerns about a recession in the world’s biggest economy.

Brent crude oil was up 0.7% at $58.96 a barrel.

Still, demand for risky assets remains low while volatility on Western stock markets remains high, Olma brokerage said.

Russian stock indexes edged up.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.7% to 1,258 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4% higher at 2,637 points, moving away from its lowest level since late May of 2,620.20 it hit on Thursday.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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