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Markets

Russian rouble looks for momentum after recovering from 5-month low

  • Largely ignoring moves in prices for oil, Russia's key export, the rouble was 0.2% stronger at 76.87 against the dollar at 0530 GMT, having hit on Wednesday its weakest level since Nov. 5 of 78.0450.
08 Apr 2021

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble was steady near the 77-mark against the dollar in early trade on Thursday after hitting a five-month low in the previous session amid fears of another escalation of tensions between Moscow and the West.

Largely ignoring moves in prices for oil, Russia's key export, the rouble was 0.2% stronger at 76.87 against the dollar at 0530 GMT, having hit on Wednesday its weakest level since Nov. 5 of 78.0450.

Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.2% stronger at 91.25 but hovered far away from levels of around 70 seen in early-2020 before oil prices crashed and the COVID-19 outbreak became global.

The rouble recently took a hit from geopolitical concerns that have intensified as Russia started a planned combat readiness inspection of its army while NATO voiced concerns about a Russian military build-up near eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin claimed its military movements posed no threat to Ukraine or anyone else after Russia had said a serious escalation in the conflict in Ukraine's Donbass region could "destroy" Ukraine.

The sanction threat has pressured Russian assets for months.

Such risks intensified in the second half of March when US President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin would "pay a price" for meddling in US elections and cyber-hacking, allegations that Moscow denies.

The rouble may see some support later this month from the central bank's possible decision to raise interest rates as inflation is showing little signs of slowing.

The Russian central bank will consider holding or raising interest rates by either 25 or 50 basis points at its April 23 board meeting, the bank's head of monetary policy told Reuters in an interview.