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Rouble weakens, Russian stocks steady after non-residents return


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MOSCOW — The Russian rouble weakened on Tuesday, trading at 60-61 against the dollar with the market bracing for U.S. inflation data, Russia’s expected return to borrowing this week and Friday’s benchmark interest rate decision.

At 0721 GMT, the rouble was 0.4% weaker against the dollar at 60.46 and versus the euro had lost 0.7% to trade at 61.21.

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Promsvyazbank analysts said the rouble may test the 60 mark against the greenback this week, but volatility is likely to remain subdued.

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This year, the rouble has been the world’s best-performing currency, buoyed by emergency capital controls rolled out by the central bank in a bid to halt a mass sell-off after Russia began what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Investors are looking ahead to U.S. inflation figures, due at 1230 GMT, and Friday’s key interest rate decision, with the majority of analysts polled by Reuters expecting the Bank of Russia to cut by 50 basis points to 7.5%.

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Russia, which in February suspended weekly auctions of the OFZ treasury bonds it uses to plug budget holes, is due to return to the debt market on Wednesday.

Moscow Exchange extended currency and stock market trading hours this week and welcomed back non-residents from “friendly” countries, those that have not imposed sanctions against Moscow.

Concerns over admitting non-residents to trade in shares did not amount to much, said Georgy Vashchenko, deputy director of Freedom Finance Global’s research department.

“Anxious expectations from some investors about a sell-off, which non-residents might have organized, in our opinion, had no real grounds,” Vaschenko said.

Russian stocks were mixed.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was unchanged at 1,2800.6 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4% higher at 2,458.1 points.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; editing by Jason Neely)


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