Russian rouble falls against dollar as government to sell $2.3 bln FX in next month

<html xmlns=""><head><title>UPDATE 2-Russian rouble falls against dollar as government to sell $2.3 bln FX in next month</title></head><body>

Recasts, updates prices

By Jake Cordell

Feb 3 (Reuters) -The Russian rouble fell back against the U.S. dollar in trading on Friday as the finance ministry said it would sell $2.3 billion worth of foreign currency in the month ahead to help plug a deficit in the state budget.

The rouble was 0.3%lower against the U.S. dollar at 70.68 at 1430GMT RUBUTSTN=MCX, but rose against other currencies. It climbed 0.6%against the euro to 76.72 EURRUBTN=MCX and was up 0.2%against the Chinese yuan to 10.43 CNYRUBTOM=MCX.

Russia's finance ministry said it would sell 8.9 billion roubles ($126.6 million) worth of foreign currency per day between Feb. 7 and March 6, an almost three-fold increase on daily interventions in the previous month.

Total interventions during the period will amount to 160.2 billion roubles ($2.28 billion), it said, more than double the79.75 billion roubles expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

However, weak oil and gas revenues - which came in at theirlowest monthly level since August 2020 - have raised the prospect of Russia falling deeper into a budget deficit in the months ahead.

Russia sells down its foreign currency reserves to reduce the rouble's volatility to global energy prices and to fill gaps in the state budget.

The sales are likely to be conducted in Chinese yuan, which has become a vital currency instrument for the Russian government and companies in the face of sanctions banning access to Western financial markets.

Geopolitics and energy also remained in focus, with the next stage of the European Union's price cap on Russia's oil exports - including premium refined products such as diesel - set to come into force from Feb. 5.

Russian stock indexes fell.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was down 0.2% at 1,002.3 points and the rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was up 0.2%to 2,247.1 points.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

Reporting by Jake Cordell
Editing by Kim Coghill, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Peter Graff


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