24 April, Tuesday


Russia promises swift response to US sanctions as ruble, shares slide

Economy

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Russia will not delay adopting legislation in response to new U.S. sanctions, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday, as the Russian ruble and shares in some of Russia's biggest companies continued to slide.
 
Senior members of the lower house of parliament have said they are considering legislation to give the Kremlin powers to ban or restrict a list of U.S. imports.
 
Ryabkov said Moscow was discussing what he called Washington's abuse of the dollar's status as the global reserve currency, according to RIA news agency.
 
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Monday the government was discussing possible measures to support Russian companies hit by new U.S. sanctions, RIA said.
 
Dvorkovich said the government was discussing measures with affected companies, the news agency reported.
 
Volatility on the Russian market has soared since Washington imposed fresh sanctions against Moscow on April 6, targeting major Russian companies and some of the country's most prominent businessmen.
 
Dangers of a direct military confrontation between Russia and the United States eased over the weekend after Western missiles fired at Syria over a suspected poison gas attack steered clear of any Russian troops on the ground.
 
But Washington said Sunday it would impose further sanctions against Russia on Monday over Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
 
At 0740 GMT, the ruble was 0.36 percent weaker against the dollar at 62.27 and had lost 0.37 percent to trade at 76.80 versus the euro.
 
Russia's dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.57 percent to 1,098.26 points, while the ruble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.18 percent lower at 2,171.28 points.
 
Shares in aluminum giant Rusal, which was placed on the April 6 U.S. sanctions list, were down more than 5 percent on the Moscow Exchange after falling 30 percent in Hong Kong.
 
"Fears of a direct military conflict between the U.S. and Russia have been sidelined, allowing markets to breathe easier, but only somewhat," BCS analysts said in a note.
 
"Sentiment, still, will be tempered awaiting the Kremlin's response to the U.S.-led strike in Syria, to U.S. sanctions of last week and potential new sanctions."
 
Lower prices for oil, Russia's main export, also weighed on Russian assets.
 
Benchmark Brent crude oil was down 1.58 percent at $71.43 a barrel as a rise in U.S. drilling for new production weighed on prices.

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