Rouble firms, data watched for clues to pace of recovery


MOSCOW, Sept 18 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble firmed slightly on Monday ahead of economic data that should shed light on the pace of the economy’s recovery.

The rouble was 0.1 percent stronger against the dollar at 57.64 as of 0749 GMT and firmed 0.3 percent to 68.73 versus the euro.

The rouble is being supported by a recent recovery in prices for oil, Russia’s key export. Brent crude futures traded at $55.6 per barrel, up from levels of around $50 seen a month ago.

The data on retail sales and real wages should underline the pace of economic recovery after the central bank raised its 2017 gross domestic product growth forecast to up to 2.2 percent from up to 1.8 percent.

Stocks also inched higher, with the dollar-denominated RTS index up 0.3 percent to 1,126.5 points and the rouble-based MICEX gaining 0.4 percent to 2,061.0 points.

Sberbank CIB analysts said the Russian stock market has been supported recently by inflows of foreign money thanks to an “improved recognition of improving fundamentals and cheap valuations”.

“To boil it down another way, in a period of no new negative geopolitical developments, Russia’s strong and improving fundamentals demonstrate again that the market has been too cheap,” Sberbank CIB said.

Russia in graphics:

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