UPDATE 1-Russian rouble climbs as market awaits rate decision

Reuters · 09/15/2023 08:35
UPDATE 1-Russian rouble climbs as market awaits rate decision

Updates at 0823 GMT

By Alexander Marrow

- The Russian rouble strengthened sharply on Friday ahead of an interest rate decision by the central bank that could see the cost of borrowing rise again to help shore up the currency and cope with stubborn inflationary pressure.

The central bank hiked by 350 basis points to 12% a month ago, responding to the rouble's tumble past 100 to the dollar, and most analysts polled by Reuters expect another increase on Friday.

However, as the currency hit six-week highs early this week, the CEOs of Russia's two largest banks said they were leaning in favour of a hold.

By 0823 GMT, the rouble was 1% stronger against the dollar at 96.39 RUBUTSTN=MCX and had gained 1% to trade at 102.84 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX. It had firmed 0.9% against the yuan to 13.23 CNYRUBTOM=MCX.

The central bank will announce its rate decision at 1030 GMT and Governor Elvira Nabiullina will shed more light on monetary policy and other issues at a press conference at 1200 GMT.

"The cheap dollar has yet fed into goods' prices, so it is quite logical to expect inflation growth," said Alor Broker's Alexei Antonov in a . "To fight it, the Bank of Russia is likely to raise the key rate by 1-2 percentage points today."

The central bank sharply increased its foreign currency sales for a week starting on Thursday, seeking to compensate for the planned redemption of $3 billion worth of Russian Eurobonds on Sept. 16, but the rouble was unable to capitalise significantly.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was up 0.6% at $94.27 a barrel, hitting its strongest since November 2022. O/R

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 0.6% at 1,024.0 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.2% lower at 3,132.9 points.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alison Williams)