UPDATE 1-Russian rouble turns negative after hitting eight-week high

Reuters · 05/11/2023 07:21
UPDATE 1-Russian rouble turns after hitting eight-week high

Recasts with prices

By Jake Cordell

- The Russian rouble slipped against the U.S. dollar in trading on Thursday, after earlier climbing to a eight-week high on what analysts said was stronger demand for the Russian currency from exporters selling their foreign earnings.

The currency was down 0.7% to 76.57 against the greenback RUBUTSTN=MCX at 1115 GMT, having earlier traded at 75.23, its highest level since March 15.

The volatile trade follows a 2.5% advance for the rouble during Wednesday's session, which helped the currency to fully recover losses chalked up during April, when it came under heavy selling pressure.

The rouble was also down 0.2% against the euro to 83.70 EURRUBTN=MCX and had lost 0.4% versus the Chinese yuan at 11.00 CNYRUBTOM=MCX.

Analysts said sales of foreign currency by Russian exporters was boosting demand for the rouble, while medium-term concerns over Russia's current account were pulling in the opposite direction.

"Exporters have increased the supply of (foreign) currency. This is indicated by an increase in trading volumes, especially for the yuan-rouble pair," analysts at Sberbank CIB said in a .

"At the same time, there does seem to be increased demand for foreign currency from foreign companies leaving Russia," they added.

However, analysts remain cautious over the rouble's medium-term trajectory amid Western pressure on Russia's crucial energy exports. The finance ministry said on Wednesday Russia posted a $44 billion budget deficit in the first four months of 2023 with energy revenues down 52% compared to the same period of 2022.

The Kremlin said on Thursday the widening spending gap was to worry about, and that it had the economic situation in the country under full control.

Russian stocks advanced strongly, but also pared some gains throughout the day.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 1.3% to 1,066.4 points, having earlier been up over 3%, and the rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 1.7% higher at 2,591.2 points.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Jake Cordell; editing by Christina Fincher and Mark Heinrich)