April 13, 2018 / 2:51 PM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Rouble remains under pressure from tensions with the West

(Adds quotes, detail, updates prices)

By Andrey Ostroukh

MOSCOW, April 13 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble made an attempt to recover in volatile trade on Friday but eventually extended losses under pressure from risk aversion sparked by escalated tenstions between Moscow and Washington.

The rouble shed 7 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in the latest week, taking a hit from the new round of U.S. sanctions that triggered a massive sell-off across Russian markets.

“Abnormally high levels of volatility have embroiled Russian assets, as aggravated tensions with U.S. authorities took their toll, and investors refocused their attention on the Syrian conflict,” Rosbank, a Russian unit of Societe Generale, said in a note.

The rouble was 0.3 percent weaker at 62.20 versus the dollar as of 1355 GMT, bouncing off its day peak of 61.17 and heading towards its weakest level since 2016 of 65.06 hit earlier this week.

The tensions between Moscow and Washington dominated the market this week.

On Friday, Russian lawmakers presented a list of possible counter-sanctions against the United States that involved a wide range of measures from restrictions on use of U.S.-made software to bans on medicine and alcohol.

The market took the retailiation proposed by Russia’s lower house of parliament, or the Duma, with a degree of scepticism.

A trader at a Western bank said the market’s reaction to the counter-sanctions options was rather muted as “the market understands that the Duma is some sort of a theater and decisions will be made in another place.”

Market uncertainty this week was also boosted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to carry out missile strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack in Syria, as a Russian envoy voiced fears of wider conflict between Washington and Moscow.

Against the euro, the rouble shed 0.3 percent to 76.68 but hovered at a distance from its weakest level since MArch 2016 of 80.50 it hit earlier this week.

“Fundamentally, we continue to think that the rouble looks undervalued, though some geopolitical premium is likely to persist for a while,” analysts at VTB Capital said in a note.

On the stock market side, the dollar-denominated RTS index was down 1.6 percent to 1,106.6 points, heading away levels above 1,230 its was at before the latest round of sanctions.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1.1 percent lower at 2,185.3 points.


Next week, the market will continue digesting the fallout from the U.S. sanctions which, according to Reuters calculations, could have caused a combined $7.5 billion damage to three Russian tycoons on the list in a matter of few days after their announcement.

Fitch Ratings warned on Friday that the U.S. sanctions will have a severe impact on the targeted companies, while also capping Russia’s economic growth potential.

Russian officials have not voiced their assessment of the damage the sanctions cause.

The finance ministry suspended its daily puchases of foreign currency for reserves to lift some pressure from the already battered Russian currency.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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