Russian rouble hits new low, stocks down at market opening
MOSCOW - Reuters
A man carrying takeaway from a cafe heads to his car as he walks past a sign advertising currency exchange rates, in downtown Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. AP PhotoThe Russian rouble fell in early trade on Friday, hitting a new historical low of below 57 against the dollar after a rate rise by the central bank failed to support the Russian currency.
At 0730 GMT, the rouble was around 0.68 percent weaker against the dollar at 56.83 and down 0.72 percent to trade at 70.40 versus the euro. Russia's stock market indexes also dropped, following weaker oil prices.
The rouble has lost more than 40 percent since the beginning of the year, weakened by a slide in oil prices and general risk aversion to Russian assets that has been fuelled by Russia's standoff with the West over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis.
Russia's central bank raised its main lending rate by one percentage point on Thursday but failed to stop the rouble's slide or lift the gloom over the economy.
The RTS index fell more than 3 percent to 797 points and the MICEX index was 1.44 off at 1,434 points.
The price of oil, which together with sales of natural gas account for half of Russian budget revenues, has reached a new 5-1/2 year low due to persistent concerns over a global supply glut and a bearish demand outlook.
Shares of indebted miner Mechel were among the loss leaders on the Moscow Exchange, losing more than 7 percent as the company battles debt claims.