Rouble firms towards 60 vs dollar amid jump in oil prices

(Reuters) – The rouble firmed to a five-week high of near 60 versus the dollar in early trade on Friday, as oil prices jumped from a two-week low and the U.S. currency weakened across the board on slowing U.S. inflation data.

The price of oil, Russia’s main export, was up sharply on hopes of easing COVID curbs in top crude importer China, with Brent trading up 2.47% to $95.98 a barrel by 0730 GMT.

The Russian currency is also set to benefit from a new tax period starting next week, when exporters will convert a portion of their foreign currency revenues into roubles.

The rouble was last up 0.59% against the dollar at 60.18. Against the euro, the rouble was trading flat at 61.35.​​

The rouble may climb past the 60 mark versus the dollar, Promsvyazbank analyst Egor Zhilnikov said, adding that there are no visible factors holding it back.

Russian stocks were up, with the dollar-denominated RTS index growing 1.14% at 1,163.54. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index firmed 0.59% to 2,223.05.​​

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)