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Markets

Russian rouble extends recovery after Putin's speech, rate decision in focus

  • Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.4% at $65.08 a barrel.
Published April 22, 2021

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble firmed on Thursday, adding to gains made in the previous session after a national address by President Vladimir Putin and with markets focused on the central bank's rate decision on Friday.

At 0727 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% stronger against the dollar at 76.37 and had gained 0.2% to trade at 91.98 versus the euro.

Putin said Moscow wanted to "maintain good relations with all participants of the international dialogue, including with those with whom keeping up good relations has not worked out.

Indeed we do not want to burn bridges." He added he hoped no foreign state would cross Russia's "red lines."

He spoke on a day when police rounded up more than 1,700 protesters as Russians in dozens of cities took part in rallies organised by allies of hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny over his failing health in jail.

Putin's economic policy remains very conservative, said BCS Global Markets in a note, which should please the market but may disappoint others by keeping prospects for long-term growth down.

The economy ministry has lowered its economic growth forecast for this year to 2.9% from 3.3%, a source told Reuters on Thursday, adding that it sees Russia's key rate at 5% or lower by the end of the year.

Analysts polled by Reuters early this week said they expected a key interest rate increase by 25 or 50 basis points from its current level of 4.5% at the central bank's meeting on Friday, amid high inflation and intensified geopolitical risks.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.4% at $65.08 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were mixed.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.6% to 1,472.8 points.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.8% lower at 3,570.3 points.

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