Rouble up before rate decision, stocks recover from multi-month lows

MOSCOW, June 16 (Reuters) - Russian stock indexes bounced off multi-month lows and the rouble inched higher on Friday, supported by higher oil prices.

The market is closely watching the central bank which is expected on Friday to trim its key rate and give hints on the pace of further monetary policy easing.

Fifteen out of 23 analysts polled by Reuters said they expected the central bank to cut the key rate to 8.75 percent from 9.25 percent.

The rate decision, due at 1030 GMT, will be accompanied by a press conference from central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina at 1200 GMT.

The central bank will also present a new set of economic forecasts and is expected to raise its oil price assumption from the current level of $40 per barrel for this year.

The rate cut, however, is unlikely to move the market as lower rates are fully priced in.

“We think that monetary policy easing by the Bank of Russia won’t have a visible impact on the rouble, which we expect to stabilise at 58 (versus the dollar) by the end of June,” Rosbank analysts said in a note.

The rouble was 0.3 percent stronger against the dollar at 57.74 and was little changed at 64.5 versus the euro as of 0810 GMT.

Higher oil prices, with Brent crude futures gaining 0.8 percent to $47.3 per barrel, supported Russian stocks, helping them to regain some ground after falling to levels last seen in 2016.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.6 percent to 997.9 points, while the rouble-based MICEX was 0.6 percent higher at 1,829.1 points after hitting its lowest since February, 2016 of 1,774.56 the day before.

The Russian market has become a victim of dashed hopes about the relationship between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that once promised a thaw in diplomatic ties. But far from lifting sanctions, U.S. lawmakers this week voted for fresh, stickier, curbs while preventing Trump from easing existing ones.

Contemplating unfavourable conditions on the stock market, Russian authorities had to put on hold a stock market sale of a 25 percent stake in Russian state shipping company Sovcomflot, which was initially planned for this week, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

For rouble poll data see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/fx-polls?RIC=RUB=

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

Russia in graphics: (Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh)