MOSCOW, Nov 2 (Reuters) – The Russian ruble weakened back past 93 to the dollar on Thursday, but remained close to this week’s three-month high on support from foreign currency sales by exporters and high interest rates.
At 0753 GMT, the rouble was 0.6% weaker against the dollar at 93.30, moving further away from its strongest point since Aug. 1, hit on Wednesday, or 91.6225.
It had lost 1.2% to trade at 99.02 against the euro and shed 0.6% against the yuan to 12.71 .
The trouble has now lost support from month-end tax payments, which were due on Monday and usually see exporters convert foreign exchange revenues to pay domestic liabilities.
But President Vladimir Putin’s decree on mandatory FX sales, which came into force last month, is still buttressing the currency. The decree requires 43 groups of exporters to repatriate 80% of FX revenue and then sell 90% of that sum.
The ruble has strengthened from beyond 100 to the dollar since the decree was announced.
“The dollar-rouble pair has not yet found reasons for another assault on the strong support level of 92.5,” said Alor Broker’s Alexei Antonov. “We do not exclude that the (currency) pair may lie sideways within the 92.5-94 range until movement drivers appear.”
Higher rates are lending additional support. The Bank of Russia hiked interest rates by higher than expected 200 basis points to 15% last week, raising borrowing costs for the fourth meeting running in response to the weak rouble, stubborn inflation and increasing budget spending.
Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 1.1% at $85.55 a barrel.
Russian stock indexes were higher.
The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.1% to 1,089.4 points. The ruble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.6% higher at 3,226.6 points. (Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander Marrow Editing by Tomasz Janowski)