Ruble hovers near 80 vs dollar, stocks down over Ukraine developments

The ruble hovered around the 80 mark against the dollar on Monday, while stock indexes inched lower as the market lacked new momentum and watched developments around what Russia calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister said over the weekend there had not been any recent diplomatic communications between Russia and Ukraine at the level of their foreign ministries.

“The continuation of active fighting and a clear stalling of negotiations is the main risk for Russian assets through the
risks of new sanctions,” said Dmitry Polevoy, head of investment at LockoInvest.

By 0730 GMT, the ruble was little changed on the day at 79.65 against the dollar and added 0.2 percent to 85.15 to the euro.

Fluctuations in the ruble are artificially limited by capital controls that Russia imposed in late February as its financial sector and economy have taken a hit from unprecedented western sanctions designed to punish Moscow for sending tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24.

This month, the ruble could see support from tax payments as companies are due to pay a record 3 trillion rubles ($37.50 billion) in taxes, for which some export-focused companies need to sell foreign currency, according to analysts surveyed by Reuters.

On the stock market, the ruble-based MOEX Russian index fell 1 percent to 2,402.0 points, while the dollar-denominated
RTS index shed 0.9 percent to 946.7 points.

Russian shares in Petropavlovsk, which is also listed in London, outperformed the market by gaining 3.4 percent following massive losses last week after the company said it was considering putting itself up for sale in the wake of sanctions on Russia and the risk of countermeasures.

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