Rouble hits 2-week highs ahead of OFZ government bond auctions


MOSCOW, May 15 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble firmed to a two-week high against the dollar on Wednesday, buoyed by demand related to government bond auctions and tax payments as well as hopes for a decline in geopolitical tensions after Russia-U.S. meeting.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Vladimir Putin met on Tuesday, indicating that both sides wanted to improve relations despite lingering discords in may issues such as Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine.

The rouble got a boost from a recovery in oil prices and the fact that Pompeo met Putin as well as his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, "even though there were no breakthrough agreements," said Rosbank, a subsidiary of Societe Generale.

Versus the euro, the rouble added 0.1% to 72.70 .

By the end of the month, the rouble is expected to get support from monthly taxes that usually prompt export-focused companies to sell foreign currency to meet liabilities at home.

The weekly auctions of OFZ government bonds could also shore up the rouble as some investors would convert their funds into the Russian currency to buy these bonds. Demand for OFZs is seen as a gauge of investors' sentiment towards Russian assets.

The finance ministry planned to offer three issues of OFZ bonds on Wednesday.

Russian stock indexes were up. The dollar-denominated RTS index climbed 0.3% higher to 1,244.8 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.1% higher at 2,563.8 points.

This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics

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