Russian rouble, stocks off lows after mobilisation triggers slump

By Alexander Marrow

KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) -The rouble recovered from two month lows and Russian stocks pared losses on Wednesday after earlier plunges triggered by President Vladimir Putin’s move to order Russia’s first military mobilisation since World War Two. Putin said he had signed a decree on partial mobilisation, significantly escalating what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, and warned Moscow would respond with the might of all its vast arsenal if the West continued with what he called its “nuclear blackmail”.

By 1607 GMT, the rouble was 0.2% weaker at 60.69 to the dollar, having dropped as far as 62.7975, its weakest point since July 7.

It reversed early losses to trade up 0.7% at 60.15 to the euro and rise 0.8% against the yuan to 8.577. The rouble has been the world’s best-performing currency this year, buoyed by emergency capital controls rolled out by the central bank in a bid to halt a mass sell-off. Putin’s mobilisation move and warning to the West wrought havoc on global markets too, with investors flocking to safe-haven assets and sterling hitting a new 37-year low against the dollar. STOCKS EXTEND SLUMP

Geopolitics dominated Russian markets early in the session, but analysts and officials played down the impact.

On the opening day of a banking forum in Kazan, Anatoly Aksakov, head of the state Duma’s financial committee, said mobilisation had not been discussed at a meeting of the Russian banking association.

“We did not discuss issues of mobilisation and banks’ staff,” Aksakov told reporters. “Financial life is following the same regime as it was before the special operation was announced.”

He also said the association had discussed mortgage payment holidays for those called up. Russian stock indexes fell, extending a slide that began on Tuesday as rumours of possible mobilisation spread, with energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom at one point losing around 12% each, before settling at around 5.6% and 2.8% lower respectively. The benchmark rouble-based MOEX index hit its lowest point since Feb. 24, the day Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, before paring some losses. Tinkoff Investments analysts said it was the biggest MOEX drop since Feb. 24, when the index lost more than 30% in one day.

The MOEX index was down 3.8% at 2,130.7 points, after earlier hitting a low of 2,002.73 points. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 4.1% to 1,106.8 points, after earlier reaching its lowest point since April 27. For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Mark Potter and Jonathan Oatis)

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