Rouble pares losses as finance ministry holds OFZ bond auctions

The rouble reversed early losses to edge up on Wednesday, drifting back towards the 61 mark against the dollar as the finance ministry held OFZ treasury bond auctions and Russia’s benchmark stock index retreated from a more than one-month high.

By 1325 GMT, the rouble was 0.2% stronger against the dollar at 61.36 and had lost 0.1% to trade at 61.51 against the euro . It had shed 1% against the yuan to 8.49 .

The rouble has been buttressed in recent sessions by a month-end tax period when exporters convert foreign exchange revenues into roubles to pay domestic tax liabilities. Part of that support ended on Tuesday.

The finance ministry made a stuttering return to the domestic debt market last month, but has now exceeded its fourth-quarter borrowing plan of 150 billion roubles ($2.45 billion) in just two weeks.

The ministry saw demand of 218.7 billion roubles at its first auction on Wednesday, a bond which came with a floating-rate coupon. Prior to last week the ministry had not placed a “floater” since November 2020.

“Many banks have long asked the Ministry of Finance for floaters – with their current risk profile it is the safest asset for them,” said Dmitry Polevoy, head of investment at Locko Invest. “Therefore, the opportunity to buy a sufficient amount of paper at a certain discount to par has attracted investors.”

The market is also looking ahead to Friday, when the central bank is expected to end its rate-cutting cycle by keeping its key interest at 7.5%.

Russian stock indexes pared early gains to edge lower.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index (.IMOEX) was 0.7% lower at 2,115.0 points, earlier hitting its highest point since Sept. 23 of 2,144.56 points. The dollar-denominated RTS index (.IRTS) eased 0.4% to 1,086.2 points, retreating from a three-week high.

Analysts from Sinara Investment Bank said reinvested dividends from Gazprom (GAZP.MM) were supporting the market and had lifted trading volumes by around 20% in the previous session.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

($1 = 61.2500 roubles)