Russian rouble pares early losses to firm past 61 vs dollar

MOSCOW (Reuters) -The Russian rouble strengthened past 61 against the dollar on Tuesday after touching its lowest in nearly two weeks in early trade, supported by rebounding oil prices and exporters selling foreign currency to cover month-end tax payments.

By 1416 GMT, the rouble was up 0.4% against the dollar at 60.59 , having slid to 61.1950 earlier in the session for its weakest since Nov. 10.

The rouble could strengthen towards the 60 mark during the session, said Bogdan Zvarich, chief analyst at

“An improved situation on the energy market and an increase in the supply of foreign currency by exporters will facilitate its rise,” Zvarich said.

The rouble is supported by a month-end tax period in which exporters usually convert foreign exchange revenue into roubles to pay domestic liabilities.

The Russian currency had gained 0.2% to trade at 62.23 against the euro and was unchanged against the yuan at 8.47.

The rouble is the world’s best-performing currency this year, supported by capital controls and an initial collapse in imports as a result of Western sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and scores of foreign companies pausing operations in the country.

While that has limited potential upside for Russian exporters, it has kept costs down for importers seeking new supply routes and partners as Western firms shun Russia.

“The current strengthening of the rouble … facilitates the purchase of new equipment and components, the building of new supply chains, which have become very expensive for Russian business, and objectively reflects what the Russian economy now needs above all,” the Bank of Russia’s deputy governor, Alexei Zabotkin, said on Tuesday.

Oil prices slumped to their lowest since January in the previous session before rebounding. Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 1.5% at $88.9 a barrel in early trade on Tuesday.

Russian stock indexes rose, with the dollar-denominated RTS index firming by 1.3% to 1,136.9 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index gained 0.9% to 2,186.7 points.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow;Editing by David Goodman and Maju Samuel)