Russian assets tumble at opening as oil touches new low


Oct 10 (Reuters) - Russia's rouble currency slid at the opening and Moscow-listed shares dropped sharply on Friday, weighed down in part by a sharp fall in oil prices and global growth worries.

The central bank has spent at least $3.3 billion defending the rouble since last Friday, according to official data.

Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis have starved Russian firms of dollars by shutting them out of international capitalmarkets, in turn pressuring the rouble.

By 0625 GMT, the rouble was 0.13 percent weaker against the dollar at 40.20 and lost 0.24 percent to trade at 51.05 versus the euro.


That left the currency 0.19 percent weaker at 45.08 against the dollar-euro basket the central bank uses to gauge the rouble's nominal exchange rate.

The central bank said on Friday it had shifted the boundaries of its floating rouble corridor by 15 kopecks to 36.00-45.00 against the basket as of Oct. 9.

The rouble breached the new boundaries of its trading band within the opening minutes of trading. The central bank automatically intervenes to defend the rouble once it crosses the boundaries of its trading band.

Weaker prices for oil, one of Russia's chief exports, were a major drag on both the currency and stocks in early trade, with the two major Russian stock indexes down over 1 percent.

Futures for international crude benchmark Brent tumbled over $1 to below $89 a barrel on Friday, trading at their weakest since 2010.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 1.3 percent to 1,074 points, while its rouble-based peer MICEX traded 0.9 percent lower at 1,371 points.

Russia's top lender Sberbank was 1.3 percent weaker, while the country's largest oil producer, Rosneft , was down 0.9 percent.

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