Rouble dives on pandemic uncertainty, monthly tax support ebbs
By 1630 GMT, the rouble was 0.8% weaker against the dollar at 76.99 RUBUTSTN=MCX. Versus the euro, it lost 0.9% to trade at 91.10. EURRUBTN=MCX
Markets are focused on rising numbers of coronavirus infections around the world and the resulting restrictions that could derail a global economic recovery.
Russia has said it will not impose strict lockdowns despite regularly recording more than 15,000 new daily infections. From Tuesday, it ordered the wider use of face masks and recommended bars and restaurants close overnight to try to contain the spread.
Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was up 2.1% at $41.29 a barrel, recovering ground after a sharp drop in the previous trading session.
Foreign currency intervention by the central bank has supported the rouble. Daily forex sales are set to rise to the equivalent of 9.8 billion roubles ($128.51 million) from Monday, Reuters calculations show.
The bank, which reports its foreign currency sales with a two-day lag, said it sold 8.6 billion roubles worth of forex last Friday.
The currency faltered as the end of a monthly tax period approached. Export-focused companies have only one more day to convert their foreign currency to meet local duties.
Russian stock indexes fell. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX hit a more than three-month low.
The MOEX was 0.8% lower at 2,763.0 points. The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was down 1.8% to 1,131.4 points.
For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY
For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM
($1 = 76.2604 roubles)
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Barbara Lewis)
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