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Markets

Rouble hits over 1-week low vs dollar; state FX buying plan awaited

  • At 0741 GMT, the rouble was steady against the dollar at 76.57, earlier touching 76.74, its weakest since March 24.
05 Apr 2021

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble stabilised on Monday after slipping to a more than one-week low versus the dollar, hurt by falling oil prices and the lingering threat of U.S. sanctions.

At 0741 GMT, the rouble was steady against the dollar at 76.57, earlier touching 76.74, its weakest since March 24.

The dollar/rouble pair should remain within the range of 75-77.5 this week, said Bogdan Zvarich, chief analyst at Promsvyazbank.

The rouble was flat versus the euro, trading at 89.98 .

Russian assets have been under pressure from the sanction threat that intensified in the second half of March when U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin will "pay a price" for meddling in U.S. elections and cyber-hacking, allegations that Moscow denies.

The rouble is also under strain after NATO voiced concern last week over what it said was a big Russian military build-up near eastern Ukraine and as Russia warned that a serious escalation in the conflict in Ukraine's Donbass region could "destroy" Ukraine.

The finance ministry was in focus as it was expected to reveal its FX buying plan for state coffers for the month ahead at 0900 GMT.

State FX buying adds to pressure on the already battered rouble.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters on Friday expected the ministry to increase its purchases of foreign currency for state reserves to around $2.1 billion in the coming month.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 1.1pc at $64.17 a barrel, pushing Russian stock indexes lower.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.9pc to 1,453.5.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.7pc lower at 3,533.2.

A business survey on Monday showed activity in Russia's service sector grew at the fastest rate in seven months in March.