MOSCOW: The rouble strengthened on Monday, belatedly responding to last Friday's dollar weakness as it pulled away from its lowest point since mid-September that was hit before the Russian market closed for a three-day weekend. At 0741 GMT, the rouble was 0.9% stronger against the dollar at 61.53 and had gained 0.1% to trade at 60.95 versus the euro. It had shed 0.6% against the yuan to 8.45.
Better-than-expected U.S. jobs data saw the dollar fall on Friday, when the Russian market was closed. The positive rouble dynamics on Monday morning were a reaction to that, said Banki.ru chief analyst Bogdan Zvarich in a note. He said the rouble would likely consolidate in the 61.5-62 range for most of the session.
The rouble is the world's best-performing currency this year, supported by capital controls and an initial collapse in imports as a result of Western sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and scores of foreign companies pausing operations in the country. The range at which the rouble trades in November could widen as imports could recover further, but high prices of Russian exports promise considerable foreign currency inflows, Otkritie Research said.
Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, which hit a more than two-month high in the previous session, was down 1.3% at $97.3 a barrel. "The Russian market is set for a neutral opening, though crude has every chance to drive the market higher," said BCS Global Markets in a note.
Stocks opened higher, returning towards the around six-weeks highs seen last week, after a one-session blip. The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 1.8% to 1,114.0 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.9% lower at 2,176.2 points.
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