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Rouble firms on oil, ahead of Bank of Russia rate decision
September 13, 2012 / 9:36 AM / 5 years ago

Rouble firms on oil, ahead of Bank of Russia rate decision

* Rouble firms across the board before rate decision
    * Russia cbank seen leaving rates on hold
    * All eyes on the U.S. Fed meeting results
    * Stocks indexes down; Sistema up after Q2 results

    By Andrey Ostroukh
    MOSCOW, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble firmed in early trade on
Thursday, buoyed by strong oil prices but investors were wary of ahead of a Bank
of Russia interest rate decision and the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting results.
     Russia's central bank is expected to make its closest call so far this year
when it reviews interest rates later on Thursday, economists say, with most
predicting the conflict between unruly inflation and slower economic growth will
keep rates on hold.
    "We believe the economic situation and the near-term outlook have not
changed materially since the August board meeting, and we therefore expect the
central bank to keep monetary policy parameters unchanged," analysts at Barclays
said in a note.
    By 0804 GMT, the rouble gained 0.3 percent to 31.41 versus the dollar
, closing in on its strongest level since late May of 31.24 hit
    "In the last couple of days, non-residents were gradually closing rouble
positions and locking in profits ahead of the U.S. and Russia's central bank
meetings," said Artyom Biryukov, an analyst at HSBC in Moscow.
    The Fed appears set to launch a third round of unconventional monetary
stimulus on Thursday while signalling that a weak U.S. economy may warrant
ultra-low interest rates for at least another three years. 
    "Today the market activity could be the lowest so far this week as no one
would take risks before the Fed decision," said Alexei Vorobyov, chief dealer at
Vozrozhdenie bank. 
    Versus the euro, the rouble had added 0.1 percent to 40.56 
and firmed 0.2 percent to 35.52 against the euro-dollar basket, the
central bank main gauge of the currency market.
    In the stock market, the rouble-traded MICEX index shed 0.6 percent to
1,469.3 points and its dollar-based peer RTS was down 0.3 percent at 1,438.7,
still hovering at its strongest since early May.
    "We think investors will not take active steps and will prefer to wait until
news from the Fed for a clearer understanding of the market picture and support
from an impulsive move in the external markets," analysts at Sberbank said in a
    Shares in  Russian holding company Sistema inched up 0.2 percent after the
company said it swung to a $161.9 million net loss in the second quarter, hit by
a $1.1 billion write-off at its mobile unit MTS, whose license was
suspended in the central Asian state of Uzbekistan. 
 Russian Markets                       Latest       Net  % Change  % Change
                                                 Change            year-to-
 MICEX                                1469.28     -9.26     -0.63     4.78 
 RTS                                  1478.71     -3.80     -0.26     7.01 
 London ADRs                           861.07     -1.68     -0.19    10.61 
 Emrg Mkt Indx                         976.58     -1.90     -0.19     6.57 
 MSCI Russia                           801.26     -3.15     -0.39     8.75 
 Sberbank                               93.18     -0.40     -0.43    18.16 
 VTB                                     0.06     -0.00     -0.77    -3.43 
 Gazprom                               162.16     -1.05     -0.64    -5.34 
 LUKOIL                               1927.40    -17.60     -0.90    13.21 
 Rostelecom                            126.66     -0.44     -0.35   -16.67 
 Dollar/Rouble                          31.41     -0.10     -0.33    -2.30 
 Euro/Rouble                            40.56     -0.04     -0.11    -2.83 
 Rouble basket                          35.52     -0.08     -0.22    -2.58 
 DEBT                                     Bid       Ask      %Rtn    Coupon
 Russia 10-yr bond                       7.78      7.76      0.11      7.60
 MONEY MARKET                             Bid       Ask     Close          
 Overnight rate                          4.90      5.40      4.84          
 All data taken from Reuters at 0804 GMT

 (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Additional reporting by Vladimir Abramov;
Editing by Lidia Kelly)

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