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Rouble Weakens as Russia Steps Up FX Purchases

MOSCOW, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble weakened marginally on Tuesday, hampered by an increase in the volume of foreign currency purchases by the finance ministry, while caution ahead of U.S. and Chinese inflation data also weighed on investor sentiment.

At 0721 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 71.30 and had lost 0.3% to trade at 82.68 versus the euro.

“The main reason for such negative rouble dynamics is the increase in volume of foreign currency purchases to the National Wealth Fund by more than 70% from today,” Alexei Antonov, chief analyst at Alor Broker, said in a note.

Russia has returned to foreign currency purchases this year as oil prices have recovered. From Tuesday, the finance ministry intends to buy 25.9 billion roubles ($363.7 million) worth of FX a day for the month ahead, which elevates downside pressure on the currency.

Analysts expect data on Wednesday to show soaring U.S. consumer prices and Chinese factory gate prices, raising the likelihood of interest rate hikes and in turn dampening the growth outlook.

Promsvyazbank analysts said they expected the rouble to consolidate at around 71.5 to the dollar on Tuesday.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 0.1% at $83.38 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were falling.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.5% to 1,856.7. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4% lower at 4,201.2.

Russia’s second-largest bourse, SPB Exchange, said on Tuesday it had launched its initial public offering (IPO), setting the price range at $10.50-11.50 per share, implying an equity value of the company of up to $1.3 billion.

Mercury Retail Group said it was postponing its Moscow IPO due to market conditions, becoming the second Russian firm this month to put listing plans on ice after car-sharing company Delimobil last week.

($1 = 71.2111 roubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

Source: Reuters

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