Russian rouble and stocks are down with US poised to reveal fresh sanctions
The rouble and Russian shares have retreated today on the threat of fresh US sanctions.
Sanctions targeting some of Russias most prominent tycoons dragged Russia's currency down and battered some of its top companies last week. Yesterday, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, warned a wave of new sanctions were on the way with the aim of punishing Russia for its backing of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
The rouble stabilised somewhat in afternoon trading. It was down by 0.15 per cent against the US dollar at about 62.11 after falling more than 10 per cent last week to its weakest point since late 2016. Russia's central bank has no plans to intervene in currency markets, however, with deputy governor Ksenia Yudayeva today saying: "The situation on the currency market is balanced," according to Reuters.
Russia's rouble-based Moex index also slid 1.45 per cent to close at 2,143.67 while the dollar-based RTS index fell 1.75 per cent to 1,085.16.
Shares in aluminium giant Rusal, which plummeted last week, dropped about 30 per cent in Hong Kong, while the company's Moscow-listed shares were down more than five per cent today.
In London, Russian miner Evraz was a top faller, losing nearly seven per cent. BP, which is also exposed to Russia via a stake in Rosneft, shed 1.6 per cent.
Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at XM, said risk sentiment was "not out of the woods just yet", saying: "Russia has yet to respond to the Syrian strike, while the US Treasury is reportedly preparing to unveil new sanctions against Moscow today."
Oil prices fell, however, as geopolitical tensions were somewhat eased by signs that there would be no significant retaliation in response to a US-led air strike on Syria over the weekend.
At the time of writing, Brent crude futures were down 1.31 per cent at $71.63 a barrel, having risen above $72 a barrel last week.