Rouble steadies near 61 vs dollar with upcoming rate decision in focus

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

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian rouble stabilised on Monday, supported by a favourable month-end tax period and the prospect of upcoming dividend payments, which also pushed stocks higher, as investors looked ahead to Friday’s central bank rate decision.

At 0806 GMT, the rouble was unchanged against the dollar at 61.29. It had gained 0.1% to trade at 60.17 versus the euro and shed 0.5% against the yuan to 8.35.

The rouble is buttressed by a month-end tax period that usually sees export-focused firms convert foreign exchange revenues into roubles to pay domestic tax liabilities.

The role of tax payments and dividends of Russian companies payable in November should help the rouble continue its general strengthening trend towards 60 against the greenback, said Dmitry Polevoy, head of investment at Locko Invest.

The Bank of Russia is in focus, having cut its key rate six times this year after an emergency hike to 20% in February as Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, causing inflation to spike.

Last month the bank cut rates to 7.5%, but omitted guidance about studying the need for future reductions.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 1.3% at $92.3 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were rising.

“The market will be supported by expectations of the start of dividend (payments) from Gazprom and Tatneft, which should provide fuel for developing the index’s growth,” said Promsvyazbank in a note.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 1.4% at 1,064.7 points, its strongest since Oct. 6. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1.3% higher at 2,070.3 points.

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(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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