TRMK

Russian rouble steadies ahead of OPEC+ meeting, TMK shares rally

Credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV

Adds detail, updates prices

MOSCOW, April 8 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble steadied on Wednesday as investors kept an eye on headlines about a meeting of the world's major oil producers scheduled for Thursday.

Oil prices hovered near $32 a barrel, supported by hopes that a meeting between OPEC members and allied producers will trigger output cuts to shore up prices that have collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic. O/R

At 1450 GMT, the rouble was 0.2% stronger against the dollar at 75.46 RUBUTSTN=MCX, some way from a four-year low of 81.97 it hit nearly three weeks ago.

Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.3% stronger at 82.04 EURRUBTN=MCX, also off its lowest since early 2016 of 89.60 that it touched on March 19.

"The rouble's prospects will fully depend on the outcome of the OPEC+ talks," said Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist at the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

The rouble has already received support from a recent recovery in the price of oil, one of Russia's key exports.

The Russian finance ministry's decision to resume weekly auctions of treasury bonds for the first time since early March also boded well for the rouble.

Demand for OFZ bonds is seen as a gauge of investors' sentiment towards Russian assets and risks.

The ministry cancelled the first auction but carried out the other two, raising 22 billion roubles ($291.36 million). Demand at the two auctions combined topped 60 billion roubles.

But upside in the market was limited by the coronavirus outbreak, which is expected to take a toll on the broader economy.

Fitch Ratings issued negative outlooks for 15 Russian banks, including major private lenders such as Alfa Bank, Tinkoff Bank and Credit Bank of Moscow.

"The outlook changes reflect the pressure on banks' financial profiles from the coronavirus outbreak, lower oil prices and the resulting economic downturn," Fitch said.

Russian stock indexes were slightly up.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTSgained 0.2% at 1,102.9 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.2% higher at 2,640.5 points.

Shares in Russian steel pipemaker TMK outperformed the broader market by jumping 22% TRMK.MM after the company said it decided to de-list its global depositary receipts (GDRs) TRMKq.L from the London Stock Exchange.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

($1 = 75.5070 roubles)

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Jan Harvey and Ken Ferris)

((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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