August 23, 2019 / 8:23 AM / 2 months ago

Russian rouble flat before U.S. Fed's Powell speech

MOSCOW, Aug 23 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble was little changed on Friday before a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, supported by local tax payments and rising oil prices.

At 0725 GMT, the rouble was flat against the dollar at 65.59 . Against the euro, it had gained 0.1% to 72.62 .

The dollar edged up on Friday on expectations Powell would reinforce that the Fed hasn’t started a prolonged series of interest rate cuts. Lower rates in the United States usually support emerging-market assets, including the Russian rouble.

Analysts expect the rouble to remain in the range of 65-65.5 against the dollar on Friday, but it could react after Powell speaks at the Fed symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later on Friday.

“Whether it will strengthen or drop below this range will depend on Powell’s speech,” Alexei Antonov, an analyst at Alor Brokerage, said in a note.

Prices for oil, Russia’s main export, rose on Friday, as tighter supplies from key producers offset slowing demand and investors await clues on Fed policy.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.4% at $60.13 a barrel.

The rouble is expected to get additional support from month-end tax payments, which usually lead export-focused companies to convert foreign currency revenues to meet local liabilities.

Russian stock indexes were mixed. The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.1% to 1,284 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.1% lower at 2,672 points.

Shares in Moscow Exchange were up 1.4% after its net profit in the second quarter rose by 21.3%.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina, editing by Larry King

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