Russian ruble eases in early trading, stocks remain near recent highs

(This content was produced in Russia where the law limits coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The ruble fell from the 60 mark against the dollar and the euro in Moscow on Friday, while Russia’s benchmark MOEX stock index hovered near a high in more than three months at the start. of session.

At 07:19 GMT, the ruble was down 0.2% against the dollar at 60.40 and was down 0.5% to trade at 60.20 against the euro.

Promsvyazbank analysts said the ruble will remain in the 60-61 range against the greenback on Friday.

The ruble spent most of August near 60 to the dollar. Volatility has eased since hitting a record low of 121.53 to the dollar in Moscow trading in March, shortly after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine. It then hit a seven-year high of 50.01 to the dollar in June.

So far this year, the ruble has been the world’s best-performing currency, buoyed by emergency capital controls put in place by the central bank in a bid to stop a sell-off. This averted an economic collapse that many had predicted.

However, the central bank said Russian banks had lost a total of 1.5 trillion rubles ($24.86 billion) in the first six months of 2022, revealing banking sector profits on Friday for the first time since February. .

Russian stock indices hit their highest level in recent months this week, backed by the board of gas giant Gazprom recommending the payment of 51.03 rubles ($0.8456) per ordinary share in dividends in the first half of 2022 .

The dollar-denominated RTS index fell 0.4% to 1,273.9 points, just off a nearly two-month high in the previous session. Russia’s rouble-based MOEX index was down 0.2% at 2,441.9 points, earlier touching 2,450.48 points, its highest mark since May 20.

“Investors may want to cash in ahead of the weekend, although we still believe iMOEX remains in an uptrend,” BCS Global Markets said in a note.

($1 = 60.3500 rubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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