November 27, 2014 / 7:37 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 3-Rouble hits record low after OPEC keeps output unchanged

(Updates to reflect trading after OPEC decision)

By Alexander Winning and Vladimir Abramov

MOSCOW, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The rouble fell to record lows against the dollar and euro on Thursday after OPEC decided against cutting crude-oil output to boost flagging prices.

At 1710 GMT, the rouble was down around 2.6 percent against the dollar at 48.60 roubles per dollar and around 2.5 percent weaker against the euro at 60.69 roubles per euro .

It had earlier strengthened against both currencies in nervous trade before the OPEC meeting in Vienna, one of the most closely watched in years.

“The rouble basket is in free fall again, reflecting the lack of agreement from OPEC over oil production cuts. I would assume that the central bank will need to come in very soon,” Timothy Ash, an emerging markets analyst for Standard Bank, said in a note.

Brent crude fell to a four-year low below $73 a barrel after the OPEC meeting, in turn weighing on the rouble. Oil and gas account for around two-thirds of Russian exports, making the rouble and other Russian assets sensitive to changes in the oil price.

Traders said market moves were exacerbated by thin volumes, which mean that even small purchases of foreign currency could move the market.

Russia’s central bank let the rouble float earlier this month after spending over $70 billion defending the currency this year. The bank has warned, however, that it could still carry out large, ad hoc interventions to defend the rouble if threats to financial stability emerge.

As of Thursday, the rouble was down over 30 percent against the dollar this year, making it the worst-performing emerging- market currency out of those tracked in the following graphic:

The dollar-denominated RTS stock index, which is dragged lower by a weaker rouble, closed down 2 percent at 1,006 points. The rouble-based MICEX index closed down 0.4 percent at 1,531 points.

For rouble poll data see

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

Russia in graphics: (Additional reporting by Jason Bush; Editing by Larry King)

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