NEW YORK, April 16 – The Russian ruble strengthened above 80 to the dollar yesterday and stock indices edged higher as shares of gold producer Petropavlovsk underperformed the broader market. of Moscow trade and at one point fell more than 20% on the day.
Russian shares of Petropavlovsk, also listed in London, extended steep losses on Thursday after the company announced it was considering going up for sale, following sanctions against Russia and the risk of countermeasures.
Shares in Petropavlovsk fell 14% to 8.74 rubles (RM0.44) each at 1500 GMT.
Russia’s ruble-based MOEX benchmark pared earlier losses and rose 0.8% to 2,423.9 points, and the dollar-denominated RTS index gained 1.8% to 958.2 points. .
The MOEX index is expected to consolidate in the 2,400-2,450 range yesterday, analysts at Promsvyazbank said, adding that there are no strong factors capable of supporting the Russian market at the moment.
Shares of Russia’s biggest lenders Sberbank and VTB, both sanctioned by the West, rose around 1.5% the day after a central bank official said it was entirely possible that the Russian banking sector loses half of its capital.
Russia’s financial sector and economy have been hit by unprecedented Western sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine that began on February 24.
Russian authorities pledged to prop up the stock market with National Wealth Fund money and imposed capital controls that helped the ruble recover from all-time lows hit in March.
The ruble gained 1.5% to 79.71 against the dollar, after falling from a record low of 121.52 hit on the Moscow Stock Exchange on March 10.
On the electronic trading platform EBS, where the ruble fell to 160 against the greenback on March 7, the currency traded at 84 yesterday.
Against the euro, the ruble strengthened by 2% to 85.26.
The ruble eased this week after the central bank scrapped a 12% fee for buying foreign currency through brokerages and promised to lift a temporary ban on selling foreign currency for cash to individuals from April 18.
But the ruble retains support from export-oriented companies that are still forced to sell their foreign currency earnings domestically.
Russian companies have to pay a record 3 trillion rubles ($37.6 billion) in taxes this month, for which some export-focused firms have to sell foreign currency, analysts say by Reuters. —Reuters