Rouble steadies near 60 vs dollar, X5 shares outperform wider market

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A Russian one rouble coin is pictured in front of a monitor showing the Kremlin's tower

MOSCOW – The Russian rouble stabilised near the 60 mark against the dollar on Tuesday, losing momentum after a short-lived rally, while stock indexes declined on lower oil prices and uncertainty related to the return of foreign investors.

At 0754 GMT, the rouble was flat at 60.23 against the dollar, trading at a distance from a seven-year peak of 50.01 it hit in late June.

The rouble is likely to trade in the range of 58.5-62 to the dollar on Tuesday, Promsvyazbank said in a note.

Against the euro, the rouble gained 0.8% to 61.34.

Still, the rouble is the best-performing currency so far this year as it received an artificial boost from capital controls Russia imposed after sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The strong rouble helped to limit burgeoning inflation, but is damaging to budget revenues and export-focused firms that rely on selling commodities abroad.

The latter raised concerns among Russian officials and business people and increased the need to reinstate a budget rule that caps Russia’s budget spending and diverts excess oil revenues into its rainy-day fund.

The parameters of the new budget rule are expected to be released soon, and the central bank expects the rule to be in place from 2023.

“The rouble fall is inevitable due to the likely announcement of the renewed budget rule parameters,” Iskaner Lutsko, chief investment strategist at ITI Capital, said.

On the stock market, benchmark indexes were down, bracing for the return of foreign investors from countries that have not imposed sanctions against Russia from Aug. 8.

Russia barred all foreign investors from its stock market days after Feb. 24, making domestic retail investors the market driver.

“Today, consolidation in the Russian market may continue amid the uncertainty over the admission of non-residents from ‘friendly’ jurisdictions to the Russian market,” said Yulia Goldina, an equity strategist with BCS Global Markets.

The dollar-denominated RTS index fell 1% to 1,127.1 points, while its rouble-based peer MOEX shed 1.2% to 2,154.4 points.

Russia’s leading food retailer X5 Group outperformed the broader market with a 1.5% rise in its depository receipts on Moscow Exchange. The company said it planned to resume investments to grow and expand the business after a 79.4% jump in second-quarter net profit.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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