© Reuters. A woman holds new 200 and 2,000 rouble banknotes in a bank in Moscow
By Polina Nikolskaya and Vladimir Abramov
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s rouble fell by close to a percentage point versus the dollar on Wednesday, resuming losses triggered by threats of more U.S. sanctions and the tanking Turkish lira.
At 1021 GMT, the rouble was 0.98 percent lower against the dollar at 66.87
The rouble on Monday fell to 68.16 to the dollar, a level not seen since April 2016. It rallied somewhat on Tuesday, but came under renewed pressure on Wednesday from a stronger dollar.
The U.S. currency rose to multi-months highs on the back of the crisis in Turkey that boosted a sell-off in emerging markets and demand for the greenback as a safe-haven asset.
Dealers said that the brief strengthening of the rouble this week hastened the sell-off of the currency, because it allowed players on the market to buy dollars, their long-term preference, at a more favorable rate than earlier in the week.
Because of that trend, the rouble may again reach the level of 68.16 per dollar in the near future, said Igor Akinshin, a dealer at Alfa Bank.
Mikhail Poddubsky, an analyst at Promsvyazbank, said he expected the consolidation of the dollar/rouble pair near 65.80-67.30 in the near future.
“We believe that risk sentiment is likely to remain fragile in coming weeks – unless the Turkish regulators manage to engender market confidence,” analysts at VTB Capital said in a note.
Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.77 percent weaker at 75.86
Kirill Tremasov, former head of the economy ministry’s macroeconomic forecasting department and now head of research at Loko-Invest, said that investors will remain vigilant about sanctions risk for Russia.
The U.S. Congress published on Tuesday the text of a proposed bipartisan bill that among other things includes restrictions on investment in new Russian sovereign debt and bans several state-run Russian banks from operating in the United States.
“This set of restrictions will inevitably have a negative macroeconomic effect, which will further fuel our already stagnating situation in the economy,” Tremasov said.
Russian stock indexes inched lower. The dollar-denominated RTS index () was down 1.6 percent to 1,064.25 points, while its rouble-based peer MOEX () shed 0.9 percent to 2,262.58 points.
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