At 0723 GMT, the rouble was steady against the dollar at 63.32, earlier touching 62.6250, its strongest mark since Feb. 5, 2020, but banks are offering to buy roubles at much weaker levels. Promsvyazbank analysts said that they expected the rouble to jump higher early on Friday, but that it would likely return towards 65 to the dollar towards the end of the session as market players close positions going into the weekend.
The Russian rouble strengthened past 63 per dollar in Moscow on Friday for the first time since early February 2020, hitting a new five-year high against the euro, aided by continued currency trade restrictions. The rouble has risen to become the best-performing currency in the world this year, thanks to artificial assistance from capital controls implemented by Russia in late February to protect its financial sector after sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.
The rouble had lost 0.8% to trade at 65.80 versus the euro, moving away from 64.9425, which it touched in early trade. That was its strongest since mid-2017. The rouble is driven by export-focused companies that have to convert their foreign currency revenues, while demand for foreign exchange is limited as imports into Russia have waned amid disruption in logistics and sweeping Western sanctions.
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday cited the rouble rally as an example of Russia’s sound performance under sanctions. Russian stock indexes fell. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.3% at 1,136.8 points, earlier touching its strongest point since Feb. 22. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4% higher at 2,287.9 points.
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