Rouble steady near one-month high, Yandex shares rally

Credit: REUTERS/ILYA NAYMUSHIN

The Russian rouble was steady near a one-month high against the U.S. dollar on Monday, while shares in the country's top search engine Yandex outperformed the broader market, eying a draft law on foreign ownership in major IT companies.

MOSCOW, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble was steady near a one-month high against the U.S. dollar on Monday, while shares in the country's top search engine Yandex outperformed the broader market, eying a draft law on foreign ownership in major IT companies.

As of 0747 GMT, the rouble was virtually unchanged at 63.76 against the dollar RUBUTSTN=MCX after briefly firming to 63.71, its strongest level since Sept. 24.

The rouble was 0.1% stronger at 71.15 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX.

The Russian central bank is in focus this week as it will hold a rate-setting meeting on Friday where it is widely expected to lower the key interest rate from 7%.

Expectations that the central bank will cut rates as soon as this month are set to lift bond prices, which move inversely with their yields, and may provide support for the rouble as some investors will sell foreign currency to buy Russian bonds.

Yields on 10-year OFZ treasury bonds RU10YT=RR hovered near 6.60% after dropping to 6.54% on Friday, their lowest since May 2013. Yields were 7% in early October.

This week, the rouble is also set to see support from month-end tax payments that usually prompt export-focused companies to convert part of their foreign currency revenues to meet local liabilities.

The looming taxes and the rouble's currently stable exchange rate may boost conversion of FX by exporters, but the role of external factors remains high, which should increase market volatility, said Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist at Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.1% at $59.38 a barrel, stabilising in a narrow range after rapid moves last month.

Russian stock indexes were up. The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS rose 0.9% to 1,366.8 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.5% higher at 2,766.5 points.

Shares in Yandex were up 7.2% on the day after a sell-off earlier this month YNDX.MM.

Yandex shares rose after the government has supported a draft law on limiting foreign ownership in major IT companies to just under 50%. Initially, the proposals on non-Russian ownership were harsher and seen capped at 20%.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

((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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