By 14:53 GMT (17:53 Romanian time), the ruble had appreciated by 3.6% to be traded at 77.25 against the euro, reaching 76.96 earlier, the highest level reached in June 2020 .
The ruble rose 3% against the dollar to 73.17 units, hovering around levels seen before February 24, when Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine.
Trading activity remains low compared to levels observed before February 24th.
The ruble’s movements are artificially limited by capital controls imposed by the central bank, as it has lost its ability to support the ruble through foreign exchange, following Western sanctions that froze nearly half of the country’s reserves.
The currency was backed by a record 3,000 billion rubles ($ 40.25 billion) that companies will have to pay in taxes this month, according to analysts polled by Reuters.
In order to make payments, some export-oriented companies have to sell foreign currency. Rising taxes could push the ruble higher, Veles Capital said in a note to customers, but an expected cut in key interest rates by the central bank on Friday could dampen optimism.
Market players expect the central bank’s rate hike after two emergency changes in the last month – a 20% increase at the end of February, followed by a 17% cut on April 8th.
A Reuters poll suggested the bank cut interest rates by 2 percentage points to 15%.
In another sign that the state wants to stimulate economic growth, President Vladimir Putin on Monday proposed lowering the interest rate on subsidized mortgages to 9% from 12%.
At a televised meeting on the economy, Putin praised the “timely” decisions of the central bank and the government to help stabilize the economic situation.
The central bank said on Monday it was shortening the time it uses to calculate the official one-hour exchange rate, a move that Sberbank CIB analysts said suggested the regulator was seeing an improvement in the liquidity situation in the foreign exchange market.
The share of foreign investors among holders of Russia’s OFZ Treasury bonds fell to 17.7% in March, the lowest level since the end of 2012, central bank data showed on Monday.
Meanwhile, Russian stock market indices have been mixed. The dollar-denominated RTS index rose 2% to 946.5 points. Russia’s ruble-based MOEX index was 1.5 percent lower at 2,199.5 points, the lowest level since Feb. 24.
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