Rouble slips ahead of finance ministry's FX purchases announcement

Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

The Russian rouble opened weaker on Wednesday, with investors focused on the finance ministry's announcement of planned foreign currency purchases at 1200 (0900 GMT) in Moscow, which could add downside pressure to the rouble, analysts say.

MOSCOW, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble opened weaker on Wednesday, with investors focused on the finance ministry's announcement of planned foreign currency purchases at 1200 (0900 GMT) in Moscow, which could add downside pressure to the rouble, analysts say.

At 0743 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 64.21 RUBUTSTN=MCX and was unchanged versus the euro at 71.11 EURRUBTN=MCX.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was up 0.6% at $61.2 a barrel.

The finance ministry is expected to increase its purchases of foreign currency for state reserves in December, a Reuters survey showed on Tuesday.

In the previous period, from Nov. 8 to Dec. 5, the ministry had planned to buy 228.2 billion roubles ($3.57 billion), or 11.4 billion roubles per day.

"With average oil prices and the rouble exchange rate rising over the past month, according to our estimates Russia's current account balance in December will be about $2-3 billion, which will not be enough to cover the central bank's currency purchases," said analysts at Raiffeisen Bank.

They expect the outflows of foreign currency to contribute to a very moderate easing of the rouble, to levels not weaker than 66 roubles per dollar.

Also in focus on Wednesday are the finance ministry's weekly treasury OFZ bond auctions, which usually prompt foreign investors to buy roubles.

Yields on Russia's 10-year treasury bonds RU10YT=RR, which move inversely to their price, fell to an 11-year low of 6.31% in November, after a fourth key rate cut this year by the central bank, since rising to their current level of 6.45%.

Russian stock indexes were marginally up.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was 0.2% higher at 1,416.7 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was up 0.1% at 2,887.4 points.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

($1 = 63.8345 roubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

((alexander.marrow@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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