Rouble slightly up, OFZ bonds in focus after c.bank's rate cut

Credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV

The Russian rouble firmed slightly on Monday, trading near its strongest level since late May after Friday's central bank rate cut, while stocks slid from all-time highs hit last week.

MOSCOW, June 17 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble firmed slightly on Monday, trading near its strongest level since late May after Friday's central bank rate cut, while stocks slid from all-time highs hit last week.

The rouble was 0.1% firmer at 64.29 as of 0733 GMT RUBUTSTN=MCX. After the central bank cut its benchmark rate on Friday, the currency briefly touched its strongest level since May 22 of 64.22.

The Bank of Russia trimmed the key rate to 7.50% from 7.75%, lowering the cost of lending for the first time since March 2018 and promising to deliver one or two more cuts later this year.

Dovish monetary policy decisions and expectations thereof tend to support prices of Russian treasury bonds, known as OFZs, which are popular among foreign investors.

Demand for such bonds usually prop up the rouble as market players convert foreign currency to buy into Russia's sovereign debt.

"The rouble just loves the doves and we see more flows into OFZs given the current rate and inflation outlook and a lack of news on new anti-Russia sanctions," Danske Bank said in a note.

The Finance Ministry will hold weekly OFZ bond auctions on Wednesday after a break last week due to a public holiday.

Investors will also keep an eye on President Vladimir Putin who on Thursday will host an annual call-in TV show with citizens which usually goes on for hours and covers a wide range of issues from bad roads at home to foreign policy.

Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.1% stronger at 72.11 EURRUBTN=MCX.

Russian stock indexes were steady, pricing in swings in oil prices. Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.7% at $61.57 a barrel.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was unchanged at 1,341.01, while the rouble-based MOEX index shed 0.1% to 2,737.3 points .IMOEX, moving away from an all-time high of 2,772.06 it hit on Friday.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

((andrey.ostroukh@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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