The Russian rouble firmed back past 81 against the dollar on Wednesday, recovering some losses sustained after drones struck wealthy districts of Moscow, helped by large Russian exporters preparing for dividend payments.
The rouble hit a more than one-month low on Tuesday after Russia blamed Ukraine for drone strikes that one politician called the most dangerous attack on the capital since World War Two. A Ukrainian presidential aide denied Kyiv's direct involvement.
At 0855 GMT, the rouble was 0.4% stronger against the dollar at 80.84 and had gained 0.9% to trade at 86.41 versus the euro. It had firmed 0.7% against the yuan to 11.35.
Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.9% at $72.90 a barrel, extending losses after a sharp drop in the previous session on worries of slowing demand from top oil importer China.
The rouble, now lacking the foreign currency supply provided by exporters' month-end tax payments, could slide lower on the back of the worsening situation on oil markets, said Bogdan Zvarich, chief analyst at Banki.ru.
However, FX sales by the likes of oil majors Lukoil and Rosneft, which will accumulate cash for dividend payments, should buttress the rouble. Rosneft shares rose 1.4% after the company reported higher-than-expected profits for the first quarter.
Many companies scrapped dividends in 2022, but a handful are resuming annual payouts now, which also supports Russian stock markets. Diamond producer Alrosa late on Tuesday became the latest to recommend against paying dividends. Its shares slumped 3.1% on Wednesday.
Russian stock indexes hit their lowest since last week.
The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.2% to 1,045.3 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.6% lower at 2,682.4 points, though not far from the more than one-year high hit on Tuesday.
"Despite increased risks, factors facilitating growth remain in force for now," Sinara Investment Bank said of the stock market. (Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)