Russian rouble pares some losses, stocks recovery falters

Finance | 25 Nov 2021 9:45 pm

The rouble pared some losses on Thursday while a partial recovery on Russian stock indexes, which had fallen sharply on geopolitical fears, appeared to run out of steam.

By 1330 GMT, the rouble had gained 0.4% against the dollar to 74.73, retreating from the 75.29 hit on Tuesday, its weakest since mid-2021.

Trading activity in Russia is likely to be muted on Thursday, with U.S. markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The rouble has fallen in the past two weeks, weakening from a multi-month peak of 69.21 in late October, coming under selling pressure related to Western concerns over possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Russia has dismissed such concerns and has also complained about increasing activity in the region by the NATO military alliance.

"While a conflict with Ukraine is widely deemed unlikely, escalated sabre rattling carries the risk of unintended consequences," BCS Global Markets said.

Against the euro, the rouble strengthened by 0.1% to 83.89.

The rouble still retains fundamental support from Russia's strong current account surplus and the central bank, which is expected to raise interest rates again at its Dec. 17 board meeting to fight stubbornly high inflation.

Non-residents' short positions in foreign currency via FX swaps on the Russian market were $26 billion on average in November, down from a record high of $30 billion in October, Central Bank First Deputy Governor Ksenia Yudaeva said on Thursday.

When the rouble is weakening, non-residents roll down carry-trade operations, the central bank said in a report last month.

The Russian Economy Minister warned on Wednesday that the recent drop in the Russian rouble could push 2021 inflation above the previous forecast of 7.4%.

Russian stock indexes were largely unchanged. The dollar-denominated RTS index gained 0.2% to 1,664.1. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index lost 0.1% to 3,947.7 points, still well off the 3,776.61 level hit on Tuesday, its lowest since early August. -- Reuters



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