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Rouble falls again as Belarus leader meets Russia's Putin

  • Being one of the worst-performing currencies against the dollar this year.
  • the Russian currency last took a hit from risks of new sanctions against Moscow.
14 Sep 2020

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble gave up earlier gains and fell on Monday, heading towards the multi-month lows hit last week, due to geopolitical risks related to the crisis in Belarus and the suspected poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Being one of the worst-performing currencies against the dollar this year, the Russian currency last took a hit from risks of new sanctions against Moscow.

The rouble eased 0.3% to 75.25 against the dollar as of 1031 , heading away from Monday's peak of 74.5750 and towards a near six-month low of 76.5950 hit last week.

The rouble shed 0.5% to 89.30 versus the euro .

Belarus, where police detained 774 people on Sunday at anti-government protests, is in the spotlight as its embattled leader Alexander Lukashenko flew to Russia on Monday for talks with President Vladimir Putin.

The meeting should shed light on the extent to which Russia could be involved in the Belarusian crisis as the political turmoil there raises concerns that Russia may take some action, said Dmitry Dolgin, chief economist at ING Bank in Moscow.

"Geopolitical risks for Russia may be fizzling out somewhat, but investors will remain edgy this week for any new headlines on that front," BCS Brokerage said in a note.

Last week, Berlin prosecutors said they would investigate the case of opposition politician Navalny, who is being treated in Berlin for suspected poisoning and hand information to Moscow - if he agreed.

In Russia, the central bank will have a rate-setting meeting on Friday, where it is increasingly expected to keep the key rate at 4.25% after the recent spike in market volatility.

Russian stock indexes were up. The dollar-denominated RTS index rose 0.5% to 1,229.5 points, climbing for a fourth straight day. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index gained 0.9% at 2,936.4 points.