UPDATE 1-Rouble steadies as Russian stocks, bonds halt slide


This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

(Updates prices, adds OFZ, analyst comment)

By Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW, Sept 27 (Reuters) - The rouble steadied on Tuesday and Russian stocks largely halted a geopolitics-induced slide after sinking to their lowest for several months, as voting in referendums that could see four Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia neared its conclusion.

By 1415 GMT, the rouble was unchanged against the dollar at 58.38 and had gained 0.2% to trade at 56.11 versus the euro. It had shed 0.4% against the yuan to 8.154.

President Vladimir Putin's partial military mobilisation order has buffeted the rouble and stocks in the last week. Stocks have slumped on fears of more sanctions against Moscow, while the currency, though volatile, has remained strong, supported by capital controls and a month-end tax period.

But that period, which usually sees Russia's exporters convert their foreign currency earnings into roubles to pay to the treasury, is coming to a close and analysts say the support it brings will wane.

"Previously, the Russian currency strengthened against the backdrop of a shorter period of converting foreign revenues, as exporters delayed foreign currency sales in the hope of a weaker rouble rate in the second half of September," said Otkritie Research in a note.

"Within a week, the dollar could return to the level of 60 roubles or slightly higher."

Meanwhile, voting is due to end on Tuesday in the Ukrainian provinces of Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, and the Russian parliament could approve their annexation within days. Kyiv and the West have dismissed the referendums as a sham and pledged not to recognise the results.

The finance ministry cancelled OFZ treasury bond auctions, due to be held on Wednesday, citing market turbulence. Yields on 10-year OFZs, which move inversely to their price, recovered to 9.86%, after touching a 5-1/2-month high of 11.55% in the previous session.

Russian stock indexes were marginally up and less volatile than they have been for much of the last week.

"The geopolitical agenda is putting strong pressure on the market," said Alfa Capital analyst Yulia Melnikova. "Volatility on the stock market persists, and at the moment it is quite difficult to make predictions about future dynamics."

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.1% higher at 1,934.6 points, stopping the rot after plunging to its lowest point since Feb. 24, the day Russia sent troops into Ukraine, in the previous session.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.1% to 1,044.3 points. (Reporting by Alexander Marrow, editing by Ed Osmond)