Russian rouble edges up amid rising oil prices
MOSCOW, April 12 () - The Russian rouble was up on Friday while stocks posted small gains, tracking oil price movements ahead of the weekend.
The rouble had gained 0.5 percent to 64.29 against the dollar as of 1010 GMT , moving closer to the two-week high of 64.20 hit on Wednesday,after having initially opened unchanged against the dollar.
The rouble has been hovering around a level of 65.10 to the dollar, which the Economy Ministry sees as its average level in 2019.
Some analysts agree the rouble is likely to stay near current levels, but note that much depends on investors' perception of Russia's risk level.
Sberbank CIB said that, assuming a continuation of the status quo in terms of geopolitical risks, it expected an average rouble level of 65.50 to the dollar.
"This entails improved risk perception versus the fourth quarter of 2018 but a deterioration compared with 2017 and the first quarter of 2018," it said in a note.
At the end of most months, the rouble is boosted by exporters selling foreign currency to meet Russian tax bills.
In April, month-end taxes are likely to be up to 2.2 trillion roubles ($34.1 billion), down from up to 2.9 trillion roubles in March, a survey of nine analysts suggested.
Brent crude oil , a global benchmark for Russia's main export, stood at $71.62 a barrel at 1015 GMT, providing support to Russian assets.
The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.75 percent to 1,254.48 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.34 percent higher at 2,560.06 points.
Mikhail Poddubsky, an analyst at Promsvyazbank, said Russian stocks still look relatively cheap but their gains are limited by the risks of more Western sanctions.
For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY
($1 = 64.5800 roubles)