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Markets

Rouble steady as central bank support offsets low oil prices

The rouble was nearly flat against the dollar at 71.06 and had lost 0.1pc to trade at 78.22 versus the euro. T
28 May 2020
  • The rouble was nearly flat against the dollar at 71.06 and had lost 0.1pc to trade at 78.22 versus the euro.
  • The rouble has been getting support from the central bank's daily sales of foreign currency.
  • The bank said on Thursday it had sold 11.3 billion roubles ($158.93 million) worth of foreign currency on May 26.

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble was steady against the US dollar on Thursday as support measures from the central bank offset low oil prices and the end of a tax period that generally buttresses the currency.

At 0730 GMT, the rouble was nearly flat against the dollar at 71.06 and had lost 0.1pc to trade at 78.22 versus the euro.

The rouble has been getting support from the central bank's daily sales of foreign currency.

The bank said on Thursday it had sold 11.3 billion roubles ($158.93 million) worth of foreign currency on May 26.

The central bank is likely to cut rates next month to support the economy, hit hard by low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected nearly 380,000 people in the country.

The rouble on Thursday lost support from a month-end tax period that generally prompts export-focused companies to convert their foreign currency into roubles to meet local liabilities.

Oil prices fell for a second consecutive session on Thursday as industry data showed US crude stockpile were growing, dimming hopes for a smooth recovery in demand as countries begin to lift coronavirus lockdowns.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 2.5pc to $33.89 a barrel by 0726 GMT.

The rouble was also under pressure from growing tensions between the United States and China over a planned security law for Hong Kong.

Russian stock indexes were trading higher. The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.4pc to 1,217.5 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.2pc higher at 2,747.2 points.