Rouble steadies near 60 vs dollar, Yandex shares outperform market

By Thomson Reuters Aug 23, 2022 | 3:21 AM

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

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian rouble firmed slightly on Tuesday after initially easing beyond 60 against the dollar, while shares in leading internet firm Yandex outperformed the market after the company said it was selling some assets to state-controlled rival VK.

At 0810 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 59.80 after hitting 60.41 as it headed away from a near four-week high of 57.70 it reached on Friday.

Against the euro, the rouble gained 0.1% to 59.40 as the European currency dropped to a fresh two-decade trough against the greenback.

Alfa Bank said in a note that the rouble was poised to advance as the end-of-month tax period approached.

Month-end tax payments usually prompt export-focused companies to convert their foreign currency revenues to meet local liabilities.

Year-to-date, the rouble has become the world’s best-performing currency as a result of capital controls that Russia has imposed to mitigate financial stability risks.

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 soon after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. It then rallied to a seven-year peak of 50.01 in June.

On the stock market, the dollar-denominated RTS index rose 0.9% to 1,184.6 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1% higher at 2,249.7 points.

Shares in Yandex jumped 2.3% after it said it had agreed to sell its news aggregator and yandex.ru homepage to state-controlled rival VK, a dramatic move that could further limit Russians’ access to independent media.

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(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Jamie Freed)