The rouble hit its lowest in almost two weeks, breaching 90 to the dollar on Monday, despite support from high oil prices, state foreign currency sales and month-end tax payments that usually boost the Russian currency.

A customer holds a Russian rouble banknote while looking at foodstuffs at a market in Saint Petersburg, Russia.(Reuters)

At 0724 GMT the rouble was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 89.78, having touched 90.24 for its weakest since Jan. 16.

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It had gained 0.1% to trade at 97.36 versus the euro and firmed 0.1% against the yuan to 12.47 .

The rouble should recoup its morning losses during the session, said Bogdan Zvarich, chief analyst at Banki.ru, supported by rising oil prices.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.3% at $83.80 a barrel.

Month-end tax payments, which require exporters to convert foreign currency revenues into roubles, usually buttress the Russian currency later in the month. However, Alor Broker’s Alexei Antonov said exporters now tend to distribute their FX sales across the month, nullifying that impact.

The rouble does still have strong support from state FX sales at the equivalent of 16.7 billion roubles ($185.9 million) a day.

The currency could also gain a boost should capital controls requiring exporters to convert foreign currency revenue be extended beyond April 30. Market players are on the lookout for news after the government’s proposal for an extension was swiftly opposed by the central bank last week.

Russian stock indexes were higher.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.4% at 1,114.1 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index gained 0.4% to 3,175.2 points.



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