Russian Rouble Slips Lower

The Russian rouble weakened on news of the death of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, announced by the federal prisons service. The currency also slipped after the central bank’s decision to maintain its key interest rate at 16%, amid persistent inflation pressure. Following these developments, the rouble dropped to 93 against the dollar. Governor Elvira Nabiullina is scheduled to provide further insights into monetary policy at a forthcoming news conference. 

By mid-morning, the rouble had weakened by 0.6% against the dollar and had touched its lowest level since January 4. Analysts generally anticipated the central bank’s decision, with all 23 polled by Reuters predicting the rate hold. Despite a slight reduction in daily FX sales by the state, the rouble is expected to receive support later in the month as exporters convert foreign currency revenues to pay taxes. 

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil, a key export for Russia, declined by 1% to $82.03 a barrel, and Russian stock indexes saw losses, with the dollar-denominated RTS index down 0.8% and the rouble-based MOEX Russian index 0.3% lower.