April 20 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble firmed slightly against the dollar on Thursday, halting a slide sparked by falling oil prices in the previous session and set to gain support from a favourable upcoming tax period.
At 0727 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 81.80 and was unchanged at 89.60 versus the euro. It was steady at 11.86 against the yuan.
“On the oil negative, the rouble sank by more than half a percent against the dollar yesterday,” said Alexei Antonov of Alor Broker. “This morning, the Russian currency is trying to recoup part of the losses. Next week will be the peak of the tax period, so buying the dollar against the rouble is very risky.”
The rouble is expected to gain support from month-end tax payments that usually lead exporters to convert foreign currency revenues to meet local liabilities. Those taxes are due on April 28.
The Russian currency should also get a delayed boost from this month’s higher oil prices, which translate to higher export revenues.
Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, jumped to 2-1/2-month highs after OPEC announced surprise supply target cuts in early April. On Thursday, Brent was down 1.6% at USD 81.8 a barrel, its weakest mark since May 31.
Russian stock indexes were lower, dropping back from a more than one-year high hit in the previous session.
The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.6% to 998.4 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.6% lower at 2,592.3 points.
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow)