Russian rouble weakens as central bank cuts rates to 11% -Breaking
(Reuters) – The Russian rouble fell on Thursday after the central bank reduced interest rates to 11% in an off-schedule meeting. A month-end tax period was also passed. However, capital controls ensured that it traded within the multiyear range of the dollar and euro.
For the third consecutive time, the central bank lowered its key rate 300 basis points. This follows a 20% emergency rate increase in February that saw the rate rise to 20%. It also softened borrowing costs.
Elvira Nabiullina, the governor of Central Bank, is scheduled to address a bank forum in Moscow later Thursday.
The rouble had fallen to 60.89 against the dollar by 0748 GMT. That was down 2.6% from its February 2018 peak of 55.80.
The euro had fallen 4.4%, trading at 63.32 against the dollar. It was close to a 7-year high of 58.1 in the last session.
As inflationary expectations dropped and the rouble was firmer, the rouble began to fall from its multi-year peak on Wednesday. The market anticipates the bank’s decision. This led to the rouble falling below those highs.
Numerous analysts forecasted a 200-basis point cut.
Capital controls and new terms for gas payments that require conversion of foreign currencies into currency have supported the rouble so far in this year’s financial crisis.
However, it is now losing the support of the monthly tax period which usually sees export-focused businesses convert foreign currencies into roubles to cover local liabilities.
Russian stock markets were mixed.
Dollar-denominated RTS Index fell 0.7% to 1230.4 Points. 2.378.14 points was the higher MOEX Russian-based index.