Rouble weakens on rising COVID-19 cases, low oil prices ahead of OFZ auctions

Credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV

MOSCOW, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble weakened to its lowest in more than a week against the dollar on Wednesday, hurt by falling oil prices, rising COVID-19 cases at home and abroad, and uncertainty before the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.

At 0756 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% weaker against the dollar at 77.52 RUBUTSTN=MCX, its weakest mark since Oct. 20. It had gained 0.1% to trade at 91.25 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 2.6% at $40.13 a barrel.

Opinion polls showing a solid lead for Democrat Joe Biden in the United States have reduced appetite for Russian assets, with investors expecting greater friction between Washington and Moscow.

The decline on Russian markets and in the rouble was partly caused by geopolitical factors and increased expectations of a Biden victory, which could threaten the domestic economy with new sanctions, said Veles Capital analyst Elena Kozhukhova.

Rising numbers of new COVID-19 infections around the world and the resulting restrictions that could derail a global economic recovery were also exerting pressure on riskier assets.

Russia on Wednesday reported a daily record high of COVID-19 deaths, but officials insisted the situation remained under control.

Government bond auctions were in focus, with the finance ministry offering two OFZ treasury bonds later on Wednesday, testing appetite for debt which is popular among foreign investors thanks to its yield, and could support the rouble.

Russian stock indexes were falling. The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was down 1.8% to 1,110.9 points, a more than five-month low. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 1% lower at 2,734.8 points, its lowest since July 15.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow)

((alexander.marrow@thomsonreuters.com;))

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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