Rouble weakens on deteriorating U.S.-China ties, easing oil prices

Credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV

The Russian rouble weakened on Thursday as concern over deteriorating relations between the United States and China weighed on risk assets and oil prices eased away from three-week highs.

MOSCOW, July 16 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble weakened on Thursday as concern over deteriorating relations between the United States and China weighed on risk assets and oil prices eased away from three-week highs.

At 0746 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% weaker against the dollar at 71.17 RUBUTSTN=MCX and had lost 0.2% to trade at 81.19 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.4% at $43.60 a barrel, dipping from its highest mark since June 23 on Wednesday after OPEC and allies agreed to taper record supply curbs from August.

The correction in oil prices and the weakening currencies of developing countries would exert early pressure on the rouble, said Bogdan Zvarich, chief analyst at Promsvyazbank.

News that China's economy returned to growth in the second quarter after a deep slump at the start of the year limited downside amid the moderately negative global outlook , but Russian markets remain susceptible to volatility with uncertainty over the worldwide resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

"The statistics on China as a whole did not turn out to be disappointing, but bulls took a break from buying because of worsening relations between (China) and the United States," said Veles Capital analyst Elena Kozhukhova.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday took fresh aim at China, saying the United States would impose visa restrictions on Chinese firms that he accused of facilitating human rights violations.

Domestically, the rouble was supported by the start of a period of month-end tax payments that usually prompt export-focused companies to convert dollar revenues into roubles to meet local liabilities.

Russian stock indexes were falling.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was down 0.5% to 1,213.6 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.2% lower at 2,741.8 points.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

((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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