The rouble fell to a near one-month low past 71 to the dollar in early trade on Tuesday, before staging a marginal recovery as Russia almost tripled its daily foreign currency sales, a day after posting a yawning budget deficit for January. At 0717 GMT , the rouble was 0.2% stronger against the dollar at 70.84, earlier touching 71.2475, its weakest since Jan. 9.
It gained 0.4% to trade at 76.01 versus the euro and had firmed 0.1% against the yuan to 10.41 . Increased sales of China ‘s yuan will support the rouble, but it will remain in a moderately declining trend, said Alor Broker in a note.
Russia plans to sell 8.9 billion roubles ($125.62 million) worth of foreign currency per day from Tuesday, a near three-fold increase on the previous month, compensating for lower oil and gas revenue. Slumping energy revenues and soaring expenditure pushed Russia ‘s federal budget to a deficit of about $25 billion in January, as sanctions and the cost of Moscow ‘s military campaign in Ukraine choke the economy’s prospects. January oil and gas revenues were 46.4% lower year-on-year.
European Union countries last week agreed to set price caps at $100 per barrel on products that trade at a premium to crude, principally diesel, and $45 per barrel for products that trade at a discount, such as fuel oil and naphtha. Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia ‘s main export, was up 1.4% at $82.1 a barrel.
Russia n stock indexes were higher. The rouble-based MOEX Russia n index was 0.3% higher at 2,278.1 points, its highest mark since mid-September. The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.6% to 1,013.1 points.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect Russia ‘s central bank to hold its key interest rate at 7.5% on Friday, but to give a more hawkish signal to the market. “It is quite possible that its rhetoric will be tightened somewhat, as proinflationary factors appear to be intensifying,” said Artem Arkhipov , head of macroeconomic research and strategic analysis at UniCredit . ($1 = 70.8500 roubles)