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UPDATE 1-Rouble weakens after Biden comments on Putin

UPDATE 1-Rouble weakens after Biden comments on Putin

· 03/17/2021 07:49
UPDATE 1-Rouble weakens after Biden comments on Putin

Updates with U.S. Biden comments

- The Russian rouble weakened by more than 1% on the day after U.S. President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will "pay a price" for efforts to meddle in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Russia's Eurobonds fell after Biden's comments and the rouble extended losses that it posted after new U.S. allegations that Putin was likely to have directed efforts to try to influence the 2020 U.S. election.

At 1116 GMT the rouble was down 1.3% at 73.83 against the dollar RUBUTSTN=MCX, heading away from the 72.53 reached on Tuesday, its strongest in more than seven months.

Against the euro the rouble weakened 1.4% to 87.89 EURRUBTN=MCX, heading away from the 86.5150 hit in the previous session, its strongest since mid-August.

The sell-off in the rouble intensified after Biden told ABC News on Wednesday that Putin will face consequences for directing efforts to swing last year's U.S. election in Donald Trump's favour. nL1N2LF0WA

Of Putin, Biden said he does not think the Russian leader has a soul. Asked if he thought Putin was a killer, he told ABC: "I do."

The Russian embassy in the United States had earlier dismissed the U.S. report on Moscow's alleged interference as "another set of baseless accusations". nL8N2LF0XY

The geopolitical premium for the rouble remains significant. The rouble traded at about 61 to the dollar in early 2020, when oil prices were last near current levels of $68.80 a barrel.

The Russian finance ministry is in focus as it offers OFZ treasury bonds that are popular among foreign investors thanks to their yields.

"We don't feel much excitement around the MinFin primary auctions," Rosbank said in a note.

"There are just so many other important topics unravelling right now, so that it doesn't matter much if the MinFin grants (a premium at the bond auctions)."

Russian stock indexes also extended losses after Biden's comments.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS fell 3% to 1,506.9 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX shed 1.5% to 3,536.2 points, heading away from this week's record high of 3,587.24.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh
Editing by David Goodman)