Russian ruble firms to 7-year high past 53 vs dollar

Russian ruble firms to 7-year high past 53 vs dollar

The Russian ruble jumped on Wednesday to its strongest mark in seven years against the dollar and euro, supported by capital controls, a favourable upcoming tax period and Russia's trade surplus.

At 07:34 GMT, the ruble was 1.4% stronger against the dollar at 53.07, earlier strengthening to 52.80, its strongest mark since June 2015.

It had gained 1.6% to trade at 55.36 against the euro, its strongest point since May 2015.

The ruble, which has become the world's best-performing currency this year, is driven by Russia's high proceeds from commodity exports, a sharp drop in imports and a ban on households withdrawing foreign currency savings.

The ruble is also buttressed by companies that need to pay taxes early next week. For export-focused firms that means converting dollar and euro revenue into rubles.

Russian stock indexes were mixed, hampered in part by oil prices, which dropped sharply to a more than one-month low.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 4.4% at $109.6 a barrel.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.8% to 1,390.4 points, earlier clipping a four-month high, but the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.5% lower at 2,347.6 points.

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