Rouble hovers above 4-year low, Russian stocks edge up

MOSCOW Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:18am EST

MOSCOW Jan 16 (Reuters) - The rouble was marginally weaker on Thursday, a day after hitting its lowest level since 2009, as the central bank shows its determination to allow the rouble to float.

At 0810 GMT the rouble was down 0.1 percent to 38.86 against the dollar-euro basket that the central bank uses to determine its interventions, still stronger than Wednesday's low point of 38.88.

The rouble was 0.1 percent weaker at 33.42 against the dollar, and 0.2 percent weaker at 45.50 against the euro.

This week, the central bank reiterated that it did not have any target for the rouble and was continuing to wind down its market interventions, as part of its long-term goal of floating the currency from next year.

On Thursday it moved the rouble's corridor against the basket for the third time in seven days, illustrating how the currency is now largely floating.

The central bank's hands-off approach has unnerved investors, at a time when emerging market currencies are coming under pressure because of the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to reduce its monetary stimulus.

However, the rouble typically strengthens in the second half of each month as large exporters stock up on local currency to pay end-of-month taxes.

Russian stock indexes registered small gains on Thursday. The rouble-denominated MICEX index was up 0.2 percent to 1489.9 points, while the dollar-denominated RTS had risen 0.2 percent to 1404.4.

Russian shares have started the year on a sour note, in common with other emerging markets, but equity markets were cheered on Wednesday by an upward revision of the World Bank's 2014 global growth forecast, to 3.2 percent from 3 percent.

NASDAQ-listed shares in Russian electronic payment company QIWI fell by 17 percent by the U.S. market close on Wednesday on concerns over proposed Russian legal changes.

The amendments would reduce the maximum payment allowed from anonymous e-wallets and introduce other restrictions that are part of a campaign to tighten anti-terrorist legislation.

For rouble poll data see

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

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