The Russian rouble eased to around 70 per U.S. dollar on Wednesday and stocks were mixed, lacking momentum after a long weekend.

The rouble has been volatile for weeks in thin trade in Moscow, propped up by capital controls but pressured by concerns about more sanctions being imposed on Moscow over what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

At 0733 GMT, the rouble was 0.6% weaker against the dollar at 69.80, hovering near its strongest level since early March 2020 of 65.31 which it hit last week.

Against the euro, the rouble was little changed on the day at 73.29, hovering at levels it used to be at before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

The rouble is currently being supported by the mandatory conversion of foreign currency by exporters and restrictions on capital outflows, and without the emergency measures imposed by the central bank it would have been weaker.

"The Russian rouble's fortunes are increasingly disconnected from the health of the Russian economy as international sanctions tighten," rating agency Scope said in a note.

Further rouble appreciation could pose risks for the budget, analysts say. Addressing the issue, the central bank has indicated that it could ease some of its capital controls.

The rouble may see downside pressure mounting in the medium term as the country's trade surplus should decline after Russia issued details on so-called parallel import of goods, Promsvyazbank analysts said in a note.

Last week, Moscow published a detailed list of goods ranging from foreign carmakers, technology companies to consumer brands that the government has included in a "parallel imports" scheme aimed at shielding consumers from business isolation by the West.

Russian stock indexes were mixed. The dollar-denominated RTS index shed 0.4% to 1,083.7 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index rose 0.3% to 2,400.7 points.


(Reporting by Reuters)