Russian rouble weakens from near 4-week high vs dollar

By Thomson Reuters Aug 22, 2022 | 2:57 AM

(This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian rouble pulled back from last week’s near four-week high against the dollar on Monday but held near its strongest levels this month, with a tax payment period that usually sees exporters convert forex revenues into roubles looming.

At 0735 GMT, the rouble was 1.4% weaker against the dollar at 59.93, falling sharply from Friday’s 57.70 high. It had lost 0.4% to trade at 59.85 versus the euro.

A strong dollar and falling oil prices were weighing on the Russian currency.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 1.2% at $95.53 a barrel.

Year-to-date, the rouble has become the world’s best-performing currency as a result of capital controls that Russia imposed after beginning what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Rouble volatility has subsided after wild swings that saw it hit a record low of 121.53 to the dollar on the Moscow Exchange in March and then rally to a seven-year peak of 50.01 in June.

The rouble could strengthen on Monday, said Banki.ru chief analyst Bogdan Zvarich.

“Exporters’ preparation for the peak of tax payments, which will take place on Thursday, will remain the main support factor for the rouble,” he said.

Once the tax payment deadline passes, the rouble is seen weakening sharply, with Alor Broker saying it could drop as far as 65 against the dollar.

Russian stock indexes were mixed.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 1% to 1,159.2 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4% higher at 2,204.8 points.

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)