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Rouble slips lower, finance ministry comments check losses

Rouble slips lower, finance ministry comments check losses
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The Russian rouble slumped to a new record low against the US dollar on Tuesday

It was already this year’s biggest declining currency in a major emerging economy, having lost more than 15 percent.

It has been weighed down by the central bank’s refusal to provide support, sanctions that prevent many Russian companies from tapping global capital markets to refinance debt and falling oil prices.

Comments by Moscow officials that they may make more foreign currency available to Russian firms unable to pay foreign debts due to a shortage of dollars helped to check the losses.

Analysts linked the rouble’s slight recovery to comments by Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev, who said the Finance Ministry and central bank were discussing options to provide additional foreign-currency liquidity.

“If this happens, then it would be major news for the currency market,” said Dmitry Savchenko, a forex analyst at Nordea Bank in Moscow.

In a report, Morgan Stanley calculated that debt redemptions by Russian companies and banks will almost double to around $47 billion in the fourth quarter from $26 billion in the third.

“With relatively stable conditions on external markets such a collapse in the rouble can only be explained by real demand for foreign currency from companies and speculative pressure,” ING economist Dmitry Polevoy said in a note.

“The threat of sanctions and the closure of access to foreign currency liquidity from the West is feeding demand.”