Rouble steadies, locking in gains made after Putin ordered capital controls

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian rouble steadied near 97.5 to the dollar on Friday, locking in the hefty gains made in the previous session after President Vladimir Putin ordered the mandatory sale of foreign currency revenues for some exporters to support the currency.

The government said late on Wednesday that Putin had signed a decree reintroducing capital controls for an undisclosed list of 43 exporting firms, but the market is looking for more detail, such as the percentage of revenues affected and the start date.

At 0750 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 97.51, having climbed over 3% to a more than two-week high of 96.4550 in the previous session.

It had lost 0.1% to trade at 102.89 versus the euro and shed 0.3% against the yuan to 13.33.

The Kremlin on Thursday said it would not disclose the list of companies affected by the controls.

“Estimating a ‘fair’ value of the rouble without these parameters is impossible,” said Alexei Antonov of Alor Broker.

“We’ll risk suggesting that in the short term the rouble has good chances of strengthening even below 95 roubles per dollar, however in the long-term, the Russian currency still looks weak due to large budget expenditures and the huge need for imports.”

A stronger rouble could ease pressure on the central bank, which is widely expected to raise interest rates at its next meeting on Oct. 27.

But reimposing capital controls was not wholly supported by the central bank, which has preferred tackling the rouble’s weakness through monetary policy. Similar controls were implemented soon after Russia despatched troops to Ukraine in February 2022.

, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 2.2% at $87.85 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were higher.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.4% to 1,030.4 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.5% higher at 3,189.7 points.

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