• Rouble continues gains as oil approaches $50 per barrel

    The Russian rouble strengthened further on Tuesday, continuing gains from Monday as the international oil price hit new 2016 highs close to $50 per barrel. At 0800 GMT, the rouble was 0.7 percent stronger against the dollar at 64.44 and had gained 0.6 percent to 73.03 versus the euro. Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.7 percent at $49.3 a barrel, after touching a 2016 high of $49.47 earlier on Tuesday.

    The oil price is being supported by supply disruptions and a bullish report by investment bank Goldman Sachs which said the oil market had shifted from surplus to deficit earlier than expected. “We regard the reaction of the rouble to oil market optimism as extremely restrained,” ING analyst Dmitry Polevoy said in a note. “Our estimates of the fundamentally justified rouble exchange rate give an even lower range of 60.50-62.50 per dollar for oil at $50 per barrel.”

    Despite the stronger oil price, Russian share indexes fell on Tuesday, losing momentum after gains on Monday and hit by a report that top gas producer Gazprom would pay a lower-than-expected dividend. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.5 percent to 925 points, while the rouble-based MICEX was 1.2 percent lower at 1,897 points. Shares in Gazprom were down 2.9 percent, after newspaper Vedomosti reported the company had persuaded the government to let it pay just over 20 percent of its profit under international standards as dividend, rather than a previously proposed 50 percent. Timothy Chandler Womens Jersey

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