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Markets

Rouble down from two-month peak as Russia's COVID-19 cases surpass 2mn

  • Versus the euro, the rouble eased 0.2% to 90.34 .
  • We still expect the rouble to firm to 72.00-72.50 versus the dollar in the first quarter of 2021
19 Nov 2020

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble eased slightly on Thursday after hitting a two-month high versus the dollar a day earlier as markets remained cautious about the oil price outlook due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At 0741 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% weaker against the dollar at 76.27 after firming to 75.52 on Wednesday, its strongest level since Sept. 18.

Versus the euro, the rouble eased 0.2% to 90.34 .

The coronavirus remains one of the main negative factors for Russian markets, boosting concerns about economic recovery in Russia and abroad.

Russia reported a record daily increase in registered COVID-19 infections of 23,610, taking the overall number of cases to more than 2 million.

If the rouble manages to firm substantially beyond 76.05-76.10 against the dollar, it will open the door for further gains towards 73.20, said Dmitry Polevoy, head of investment at Locko Invest.

"We still expect the rouble to firm to 72.00-72.50 versus the dollar in the first quarter of 2021," Polevoy said.

The rouble traded around 61 to the dollar and 70 against the euro in early 2020 before oil prices plunged and the coronavirus crisis hit.

Russian stock indexes were down. The dollar-denominated RTS index fell 1% to 1,263.8 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.8% lower at 3,056.7 points.

Brent crude oil was up 0.2% at $44.44 a barrel.

"While oil traders stay optimistic on the wave of the latest rally, we remain cautious over oil gains, eyeing potential correction week ahead," Alfa Bank said in a note.

"Negative news on industrial production statistics in Russia for October may add grey colours to sentiment on Thursday."