Russian rouble firms ahead of expected interest rate cut
June 10 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble firmed on Friday, heading back towards a more than two-week high hit in the previous session with the support of capital controls, as the market awaited an expected rate cut by the central bank.
By 0724 GMT, the rouble was 1.1% stronger against the dollar at 58.71 RUBUTSTN=MCX, not far from Thursday's 57.4075, which was its strongest since May 25.
It had gained 2.1% to trade at 61.96 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX, also close to a two-week high.
The central bank is expected to cut interest rates, which could in theory put some downside pressure on the rouble and support prices of OFZ treasury bonds.
A majority of analysts polled by Reuters expect a 100-basis-point rate cut to 10% as the bank tries to make lending more affordable amid sluggish consumer demand and a pause in inflation, although some have suggested a sharper cut to 9% is possible. nL1N2XT113
The rate decision is due at 1030 GMT, followed by a media briefing with Governor Elvira Nabiullina at 1200 GMT.
The central bank's decision is unlikely to affect the rouble rate, in view of existing curbs on capital flows, said Alfa Capital analyst Alexander Dzhioev.
"Nevertheless, it is worth noting that in combination with other factors, for example, abolishing mandatory foreign currency earnings sales by exporting companies, the currency could stop strengthening," he said.
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday that the market interpreted as a potential means for export-focused companies to scale down conversion of foreign currency.
Capital controls have obliged exporters to convert 80% of their revenues into roubles after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. This ratio was later lowered to 50% in May. nL2N2XF1B1
Russian stock indexes were mixed.
The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 1.1% at 1,226.7 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.4% lower at 2,285.9 points.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)