Rouble hits 15-month low vs dollar after aborted mutiny

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By Alexander Marrow

(Reuters) -The Russian rouble hit its lowest in nearly 15 months against the dollar on Monday before paring some losses, as investors responded for the first time to an aborted mutiny by heavily armed mercenaries in Russia over the weekend.

By 0727 GMT, the rouble was 0.5% weaker against the dollar at 85.15, after hitting 87.2300 in early trade, its weakest point since late March 2022.

It had lost 0.6% to trade at 92.86 versus the euro and shed 0.5% against the yuan to 11.77, earlier hitting its lowest in more than two months against both currencies.

Mercenaries led by Yevgeny Prigozhin withdrew from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don overnight on Saturday under a deal that halted their rapid advance on Moscow but left questions about President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.

“Politics is again having a negative impact on investors’ mood,” said Alexey Antonov of Alor Broker. “The peak of tensions has passed, but an unpleasant residue will linger for some time.”

With the rouble not trading over the weekend, Russian banks had offered exchange rates well above the official rate beyond 90 to the dollar, but those were gradually easing as tensions subsided.

Investors globally were watching for ripple effects from the aborted mutiny, with some expecting a move into safe havens such as U.S. government bonds and the dollar.

The development has also revived an old fear in Washington about what happens to Russia’s nuclear stockpile in the event of domestic upheaval.

, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.8% at $74.43 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were lower.

Sinara Investment Bank said Friday evening’s “unexpected and dramatic events” had provoked a sell-off, but the situation’s swift resolution over the weekend meant a further selling spree was unlikely.

“Market participants may be cautious for some time,” Sinara said.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 1.5% to 1,024.3 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1% lower at 2,767.9 points.

Most companies’ shares were outperforming the main index after falling sharply in after-hours trading late on Friday.

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