The ruble opened steady near 82 against the dollar as oil prices rose

MOSCOW ( – The Russian ruble steadied near 82 against the dollar in early trade Thursday, helped by higher oil prices which could boost an influx of foreign currency export earnings, but remains vulnerable to sharp swings amid limited liquidity.

The ruble had its worst week against the dollar in a year last Sunday, prompting a flurry of comments from officials. Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina rejected calls by lawmakers to tighten currency restrictions and warned of a sharp devaluation and a financial crisis.

At 0731 GMT, the ruble was unchanged against the dollar trading at 81.93 and had lost 0.1 percent to trade at 90.10 versus the euro. The ruble was down 0.1 percent against the yuan to trade at 11.90.

Limited foreign exchange supply has constrained the ruble, but the payment of taxes that normally see exporters convert foreign currency earnings to meet local obligations should sustain the ruble at the end of the month.

Russia’s shrinking current account surplus, slumping by around 73 percent in January-March as the value of exports declined and imports recovered, also hurt the ruble.

“There is still a balance between demand and supply of foreign currency at current rates,” Promsvyazbank analyst Egor Zhilnikov said in a note, expecting the ruble to remain in a range of 81.5 and 82.5 to the dollar without strong impetus in either direction.

Brent crude, the global benchmark for Russia’s main export, fell 0.2 percent to trade at $87.2 a barrel, after nearing a more than 10-week high in the previous session.

After spending most of last year as the world’s best performing currency, the ruble has suffered after the West imposed new sanctions on Russia’s oil exports in the form of oil price caps and a European Union embargo on exports of seaborne crude oil.

Russian stock indexes are higher. The dollar-denominated RTS index rose 0.6 percent to trade at 981.5 points. Russia’s ruble-based MOEX Index gained 0.6 percent to trade at 2,553.1 points.

Translator: Apep Suhendar
Editor: Guido Merung


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