Rouble weakens to one-week low as COVID-19 cases rise, sanctions loom

Credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV

The Russian rouble fell to a one-week low versus the dollar on Thursday, hurt by rising coronavirus cases and restrictions worldwide, as well as the threat of imminent sanctions against Moscow from the European Union.

MOSCOW, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble fell to a one-week low versus the dollar on Thursday, hurt by rising coronavirus cases and restrictions worldwide, as well as the threat of imminent sanctions against Moscow from the European Union.

At 0726 GMT, the rouble was down 0.4% against the dollar at 77.92 RUBUTSTN=MCX. Earlier, it passed the 78 threshold for the first time since Oct. 8.

It had lost 0.3% to trade at 91.43 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX, also a one-week low.

Rising coronavirus cases at home and abroad hurt Russian assets, with new lockdown restrictions and pessimism over U.S. stimulus measures reducing risk appetite.

"Against this backdrop, Russia is unlikely to be immune, further encumbered by the expectation that EU leaders will announce new sanctions against Russia at the EU Summit," said BCS Global Markets in a note.

The sanctions, over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, are among several geopolitical risks to have plagued the rouble in recent weeks, including turmoil in neighbouring Belarus and a military conflict in the South Caucasus.

Russia on Thursday recorded a record daily increase in coronavirus deaths and more than 13,000 new cases as a second COVID-19 wave threatened the country's economic revival.

Domestically, Russia's central bank was seeking to limit downward pressure on the rouble by selling around 8.6 billion roubles ($110.4 million) worth of foreign currency a day.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.6% at $43.05 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were falling.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was down 0.8% to 1,151.4 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.3% lower at 2,847.4 points.

Real estate developer Samolet said it was eyeing an initial public offering on the Moscow Exchange of about 5.1% of its shares later this year.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

($1 = 77.8900 roubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow, editing by Larry King)

((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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