April 20, 2018 / 8:45 AM / 9 months ago

Rouble down after Russia resumes forex buying for reserves

MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble weakened on Friday after the Finance Ministry resumed forex purchases for state reserves.

At 0749 GMT, the rouble was 0.71 percent weaker against the dollar at 61.33 and had lost 0.61 percent to trade at 75.65 versus the euro.

The ministry put its daily purchases of foreign currency on hold on April 9 due to a sharp fall in the value of the rouble caused by new U.S. sanctions.

It resumed forex buying on April 17. Because of the pause, daily purchases were increased to 17.5 billion roubles ($285 million) on Tuesday and 17.8 billion roubles on Wednesday from the planned 11.5 billion roubles.

The ministry had earlier said it planned to buy a total of 240.7 billion roubles between April 6 and May 8.

But Russian First Deputy Central Bank Governor Ksenia Yudayeva said on Thursday the central bank could correct the daily and monthly purchases of currency for the Finance Ministry, depending on the market situation.

The rouble was however getting support from high oil prices which decreased slightly in early trade but stayed near three-year highs reached earlier this week.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 0.23 percent at $73.61 a barrel.

The central bank’s guidance that it was less likely to deliver a rate cut at its next board meeting on April 27 could also play to the rouble’s upside.

Analysts at Rosbank, a Russian unit of Societe Generale, said in a note the rouble could stabilise in the short term to a comfortable 60-60.5 range per dollar if geopolitical tension continued to weaken and oil prices remained high.

Russian stock indexes were mixed.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.76 percent to 1,144.75 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was unchanged at 2,230.35 points.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

$1 = 61.4025 roubles Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya Editing by Alison Williams

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