MOSCOW (Reuters) – The rouble opened weaker on Wednesday, under pressure from lower oil prices, as President Vladimir Putin told an economic forum in Russia’s far east that the West’s futile and aggressive attempts to isolate Russia with sanctions were failing.
Putin, speaking at Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum in the Pacific city of Vladivostok, said the West’s efforts were destroying the global economy just as Asia was rising to claim the future.
At 0748 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 61.28 and had lost 0.4% to trade at 60.66 versus the euro.
The rouble may test the 61.5 mark to the greenback today against the backdrop of oil prices under pressure, said Promsvyazbank analysts in a note.
This year, the rouble has been the world’s best-performing currency, buoyed by emergency capital controls rolled out by the central bank in a bid to halt a mass sell-off after Feb. 24 when Russia began what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine.
This helped to avoid an economic meltdown that many had predicted and has allowed Russian officials to make more positive forecasts about the health of the economy.
In Vladivostok this week, Russia’s top two banks said the banking sector had overcome the worst in terms of the fallout from sanctions, with VTB CEO Andrei Kostin saying banks likely no longer need capitalisation.
Russian stocks were falling, after the benchmark MOEX index struck a more than four-month high of 2,492.15 points in the previous session.
The index received support last week from gas giant Gazprom (MCX:) which reported record net profit in the first half of 2022 and recommended paying interim dividends after skipping its annual payout for the first time since 1998.
“Russian equities saw profit taking after Moscow Exchange announced it would provide equity market access to non-residents from friendly states from 12 September, triggering overhang fears,” said Alfa Bank Equity Strategist John Walsh in a note.
The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4% lower at 2,416.1 points. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.8% to 1,242.4 points.