Russian rouble climbs to one-month high vs dollar

By Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -The Russian rouble firmed to its strongest in just over a month on Tuesday, gaining a foothold past 61 to the dollar and clinging on to large gains made in the previous session, thanks in part to still-high oil prices.

By 1409 GMT, the rouble was 0.2% stronger against the dollar at 60.87, earlier clipping its strongest point since Oct. 7 of 60.6825.

It had gained 0.1% to trade at 60.84 versus the euro and had firmed 0.6% against the yuan to 8.37.

The rouble is the world’s best-performing currency this year, supported by capital controls and an initial collapse in imports as a result of Western sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and scores of foreign companies pausing operations in the country.

Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina on Tuesday said there was no immediate need to further soften capital controls.

The market is also focusing on U.S. midterm elections later in the day, while geopolitics continues to hold significant sway over Russian assets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was open to talks with Russia, days after a Washington Post report that the United States wanted Ukraine to signal its willingness for negotiations, concerned that by appearing too intransigent, Kyiv might harm its case for international support.

“Despite the denials, which are not surprising, that should provide some support to both Russian equities and the rouble over the near term,” said Alfa Bank in a note.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 0.5% at $97.4 a barrel, though not far from the more than two-month high reached in the previous session.

Russian stock indexes fell after climbing to weeks-long highs at market opening.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.3% lower at 2,201.6 points, earlier clipping 2,221.13 points, its strongest point since Sept. 20. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.1% to 1,139.3 points, down from an over five-week high.

(Reporting by Alexander MarrowEditing by Gareth Jones, Bernadette Baum and Angus MacSwan)