July 29, 2020 / 2:02 PM / 7 days ago

UPDATE 1-Rouble recovers from two-month low vs dollar, Fed meeting in focus

(Updates figures, adds bond auctions)

MOSCOW, July 29 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble firmed against a weakened U.S. dollar on Wednesday, recovering from the two-month low it hit in the previous session as investors awaited a monetary policy decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The rouble was 0.3% stronger against the dollar at 72.35 by 1337 GMT and was nearly flat at 85.11 versus the euro.

The Federal Reserve is expected to reiterate its dovish policy stance later on Wednesday and could signal a move towards an average inflation target, which would allow rates to stay lower for longer.

The rouble received a boost from oil prices, which rose after a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories. Concerns about the recovery of fuel demand, however, capped gains as some U.S. states reported record daily increases in COVID-19 infections.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 1% at $43.67 a barrel by 1331 GMT.

Russia’s finance ministry auctioned two series of OFZ treasury bonds maturing in 2026 and 2025, setting the overall amount on offer for the five-year bond at 30 billion roubles ($414 million).

It said it had sold a combined total of 27.75 billion roubles in bonds and that demand had reached 211.6 billion roubles.

Demand for these bonds, which has been stable among foreign investors in recent months, serves as a gauge of global market sentiment towards Russian assets.

The rouble earlier this week lost the support it had received from month-end taxes, which usually prompt export-focused companies to convert their foreign currency to meet local duties.

Russian stock indexes were trading higher.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.7% to 1,265.6 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.5% lower at 2,910.3 points.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

$1 = 72.4000 roubles Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber Editing by Mark Potter and David Holmes

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