Russian rouble hits 79 vs dollar as COVID-19 resurgence spooks investors

By 0850 GMT, the rouble was 0.6% weaker against the dollar at 78.70 RUBUTSTN=MCX, earlier hitting 79 for the first time since April 2.

It had lost 0.8% to trade at 91.62 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX, a more than 4-1/2 year low, reaching levels not seen since Jan. 1, 2016.

After losing more than 1% in the previous session to trade above 78, the rouble entered the overbought zone, said Veles Capital analyst Elena Kozhukhova in a note. However, deteriorating global appetite for risk this week may push the rouble to 80 versus the greenback, she added.

New clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region inside Azerbaijan run by ethnic Armenians, exerted further negative pressure on rouble assets, said Alor Broker analyst Alexei Antonov.

“It is always bad when neighbours are at war, especially if tanks and aviation are used,” he said, adding that there was a risk of Russian military involvement as Armenia is part of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a post-Soviet security bloc led by Russia.

Armenian and Azeri forces exchanged fierce fire for a second day on Monday, with both sides accusing each other of using heavy artillery amid reports of at least 21 deaths and hundreds of people injured.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 0.7% at $41.61 a barrel, with the prospect of new COVID-19 restrictions harming its recovery.

Russian stock indexes were higher.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 0.6% to 1,171.4 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 1% higher at 2,926.2 points.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow, editing by Ed Osmond and Kirsten Donovan)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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