Russian ruble, stocks rise

An employee holds 1,000 Russian ruble banknotes at the Goznak printing house in Moscow, Russia July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

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June 16 (Reuters) – The Russian ruble and stocks gained on Thursday as the central bank chief said the currency would remain floating and capital controls should continue to be eased.

By 2:35 p.m. GMT, the ruble was up 0.7% against the dollar at 56.61 and gained 1.4% to trade at 58.96 against the euro.

Top policymakers used Russia’s annual economic forum in St. Petersburg to highlight the ruble’s recent strength, fearing it could weigh on Russia’s economy as it tumbles into recession.

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First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said the ruble was overvalued and the industry would be more comfortable if it fell between 70 and 80 against the US dollar, TASS news agency reported. Read more

Central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina defended the bank’s ruble strategy, telling reporters the currency should remain floating.

She also backed a further relaxation of Moscow’s capital controls – introduced following the imposition of Western sanctions in response to Moscow sending tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine.

Analysts said the ruble’s recent streak to multi-year highs may have run out of steam.

“We think it will struggle to extend its recent rally until next week when exporters start increasing hard currency sales ahead of tax and dividend payments,” Sberbank analyst CIB said. Yuri Popov in a research note.

Russian stocks also rose in trading in Moscow.

The dollar-denominated RTS index (.IRTS) rose 2.3% to 1,309.7 points. Russia’s ruble-based MOEX index (.IMOEX) rose 1.6% to 2,355.2 points.

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Editing by Mark Potter and Gareth Jones

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