© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An employee holds sheets of the newly designed Russian 100-rouble banknotes at the Goznak printing factory in Moscow, Russia July 6, 2022. Moscow News Agency/Handout via REUTERS
(Reuters) – The Russian rouble hit a more than two-week low against the dollar in early trade on Thursday, as global oil prices slipped after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates and expectations of more tightening set the stage for further firming of the U.S. currency.
The Fed lifted interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point on Wednesday as expected and said its battle against inflation will require borrowing costs to rise further.
By 0758 GMT, the rouble was 0.7% weaker against the dollar at 62.20, earlier sliding to its weakest mark since Oct. 17.
The Russian currency had gained 0.4% against the euro to 60.91. It had shed 0.3% against the yuan to 8.43.
Promsvyazbank analysts said trading activity would increase on Thursday ahead of a national holiday in Russia on Nov. 4 which could shake the dollar/rouble pair out of the 61-62 range it has settled in over the last few weeks.
The rouble may make an attempt to break out of this range as long as the trade balance remains strong but will generally stay close to current levels, Andrei Kochetkov, an Otkritie Brokerage analyst said.
A slip in oil prices, Russia’s key export, also put pressure on the Russian currency, with trading down 0.9% to $95.3 a barrel.
The rouble has also now lost the support of month-end tax payments, that usually see exporters convert foreign currency revenues to pay local liabilities.
Russian stock indexes opened sharply lower, tracking global markets after the Fed’s rate hike fuelled fears of a recession.
The dollar-denominated RTS index fell 2.3% at 1,083.3, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was down 1.7% at 2,137.8.