September 6, 2019 / 7:45 AM / 2 months ago

Rouble gains to 66 vs dollar ahead of central bank's rate move

MOSCOW, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble firmed in early trade on Friday ahead of the central bank’s rate-setting meeting which is widely expected to cut the rate amid slowing inflation.

At 0702 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% stronger against the dollar at 66.02, heading away from its weakest levels since mid-February of 67.14 it briefly hit earlier this week.

Against the euro, the rouble gained 0.2% to 72.92 .

The central bank is in focus as it is seen trimming the key rate to 7.00% from 7.25%, a Reuters poll of economists showed.

“The Reuters consensus is strongly positioned for a 25 basis points cut today, and we share this view,” VTB Capital analysts said in a note.

Inflation, which slipped in August to 4.3% year-on-year could be a strong argument for another rate cut later this year, VTB Capital said.

On Friday, investors will closely watch the publication of U.S. monthly payroll data and also focus on the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who is due to deliver a speech entitled “Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy” at an event hosted by the Swiss Institute of International Studies, in Zurich.

Stock indexes inched lower. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.5% to 1,330 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index shed 0.4% to 2,796 points.

Shares in Surgutneftegaz, Russia’s fourth-biggest oil producer, underperformed by falling 1.5% the day after its chief executive Vladimir Bogdanov said a recent spike in the company’s shares was due to speculative trading.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina; editing by Andrey Ostroukh, William Maclean

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