December 19, 2019 / 7:55 AM / 2 months ago

Rouble firms, MOEX hits fresh high ahead of Putin press conference

MOSCOW, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble opened firmer on Thursday, ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference, regaining some ground lost after a U.S committee voted on Wednesday to place strict sanctions on Russia.

At 0739 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 62.51, after falling on Wednesday evening, and had gained 0.1% to trade at 69.57 versus the euro .

The U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced legislation, described by one sponsor as the sanctions bill “from hell” due to the broad penalties it could impose on Russian companies from various sectors, but no indication was given on further timings.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump, which may delay the imposition of sanctions as fresh restrictions are unlikely to be put forward until after the political storm abates in the United States.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was level at $66.2 a barrel.

The Russian market will have one eye on Thursday on Putin fielding questions from the media, an annual event, which can last for several hours and is due to begin at 1200 (0900 GMT) in Moscow.

Russian stock indexes were marginally up, with the rouble-based MOEX Russian index touching a record high of 3,026.9 and the RTS index close to a six-year high.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.1% to 1,524.5 points. The MOEX Russian index was also 0.1% higher at 3,025.8 points.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Potter

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