Rouble steadies near 64 vs dollar; Lukoil shares climb on dividend plan
MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble was steady near the 64 mark against the dollar on Thursday, looking for a new momentum amid a decline in oil prices and an upcoming tax payment period that usually plays a supportive role for the Russian currency.
At 0723 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 64.03 RUBUTSTN=MCX and added 0.1% to 70.95 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX.
"The rouble is likely to remain in a narrow range amid a neutral external backdrop," Nordea Bank analysts said in a note.
The Russian currency is likely to receive support from month-end tax payments, the bulk of which falls next week. Taxes usually prompt export-focused companies to convert part of their dollar and euro revenues to meet local liabilities.
Demand for Russian OFZ treasury bonds is also seen as supporting the rouble as investors buy into the Russian debt on expectations that the Russian central bank will cut rates by the end of this year, which should boost bond prices.
Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.8% at $58.95 a barrel, limiting gains in Russian assets.
Russian stock indexes were up. The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS rose 0.4% to 1,353.0 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.2% higher at 2,750.4 points.
Shares in Russia's second-largest oil producer Lukoil LKOH.MM outperformed the broader market by gaining 1.4% after the company proposed paying an interim dividend of 192 roubles ($3.00) per share.
For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY
For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM
($1 = 64.0150 roubles)
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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