Economic news

Rouble Slides past 75 vs Dollar ahead of Putin-Biden Call

  • Rouble slips past 75 vs dollar, 85 vs euro
  • Rouble at lowest levels since late November
  • Putin-Biden phone call in focus

MOSCOW, Dec 30 (Reuters) - The rouble slid past 75 versus the dollar to a one-month low in thin trade on Thursday ahead of a phone call between President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, at a time of strained Moscow-Washington relations over Ukraine.

By 1230 GMT, the rouble was 1.5% lower against the dollar at 75.09 , its weakest since Nov. 30.

It was down 1.4% at 85.09 against the euro , also a one-month low.

Selling pressure on the rouble increased on the last trading day of 2021 as Moscow Exchange will be closed on Friday. Russia's largest bourse will reopen on Monday but trading activity is not expected to recover to regular levels until Jan. 10, the end of Russia's New Year holidays.

The rouble has been under increased pressure since October as Western nations have expressed concerns about Russia's military build-up near neighbouring Ukraine. Moscow says it can move its army around its own territory as it deems necessary.

Putin and Biden will speak at 2030 GMT as Washington crafts a common response with European allies to Russia's military moves near Ukraine. Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move its troops on its own soil as it likes.

In the longer run, the rouble is set to receive support from the central bank that is expected to continue raising rates as consumer inflation, its main area of responsibility, remains high.

In 2021, inflation accelerated to 8.39% despite seven interest rate hikes by the central bank, up from 4.91% in 2020. 

VTB Capital said the rouble will average 72.30 versus the dollar in January and 71.80 in March, assuming a stable foreign share in Russian OFZ government bonds, oil prices near $80 per barrel, and no increase of the emerging markets external risk premium.

Brent crude oil , a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.4% at $78.90 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were mixed.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.4% at 1,583.6 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.9% higher at 3,775.5 points, supported by the rouble weakening.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alison Williams

Source: Reuters

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