January 18, 2018 / 12:42 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's benchmark MOEX stock index hits all-time high

(Adds detail, trader’s comment, updates prices)

MOSCOW, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The Russian benchmark stock index climbed to an all-time high on Thursday, catching up with the gains of major global peers and buoyed by favourable oil prices, which also supported the rouble.

Russian assets have been on the rise so far this year as prices for oil, one of their major drivers, recovered to levels last seen in late 2014.

The MOEX index, previously known as the MICEX, hit its highest ever level of 2,295.53 in early trade in Moscow, gaining 8.5 percent since the beginning of 2018.

As of 1220 GMT, the MOEX was 0.6 percent higher at 2,291.6, while its dollar-traded peer RTS gained 0.8 percent higher at 1,275.32, a level last seen in August, 2014.

“The global euphoria is apparently impacting on our market,” said Eduard Lebedev, head of stock market operations at IFD Capital investment firm.

After a recent downturn on the Russian market, people are started buying into Russian assets despite risks of new U.S. sanctions, Lebedev said.

Shrugging off concerns that U.S. may impose sanctions on holding Russian state debt this year, demand for Russian rouble-denominated treasury bonds exceeded bonds offered by the finance ministry at two auctions by more than two-fold on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Russian assets advanced after the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all-time high of 26,115.65 overnight.

Brent crude futures traded 0.1 percent higher on the day at $69.46 per barrel, hovering far above levels of around $40 per barrel that both the Russian government and the central bank had predicted several months ago.

The rouble also saw support from oil prices, trading 0.3 percent stronger at 56.60 against the dollar and inching closer to its strongest level of 56.20 since early June.

Against the euro, the rouble gained 0.1 percent to 69.33 .

The rouble’s upside, however, is limited by the finance ministry that buys dollars on the market to replenish reserves it spent on plugging holes in the budget.

For rouble poll data see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/fx-polls?RIC=RUB=

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Zlata Garasyuta; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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