The Russian rouble slipped further against the dollar on Thursday, touching new three-week lows after a brief respite in the previous session on news of planned increased forex sales by the central bank.
At 0805 GMT, the rouble was 0.38% weaker against the dollar at 98.50 and 0.1% softer versus the euro at 105.60.
It earlier brushed lows of 98.54 per dollar and 105.66 per euro, its worst since Aug. 15.
Persistent strong forex demand from importers has weighed on the rouble, outweighing support from high oil prices, with benchmark Brent crude still above $90.
Traders said this partly reflected a time lag between the sale of Russian oil on foreign markets and the receipt of forex earnings on the local market, though some expect the higher oil price to start feeding through and helping the rouble.
"We expect that the currency supply will increase in the very near future due to rising oil prices and stabilize the rouble exchange rate," ALOR Broker said in a note.
The central bank made an emergency rate hike of 350 basis points to 12% on Aug. 15 after the rouble hit a 17-month low of 101.75 to the dollar, and has said it cannot rule out another increase at its next meeting on Sept. 15.
"In our opinion, the rouble may continue its gradual weakening before the regulator’s meeting," said Bogdan Zvarich at banki.ru.
The central bank said on Wednesday it would sell 150 billion roubles' ($1.53 billion) worth of forex in total between Sept. 14 and Sept. 22, equating to 21.4 billion roubles a day, up from 2.3 billion roubles previously.
As markets anticipate a rate hike next week, the central bank cancelled two OFZ bond auctions on Wednesday, citing a lack of bids at acceptable prices.
Russian stock indexes were firmer on Thursday, with the dollar-denominated RTS index and rouble-based MOEX Russian index both up by around 0.35%.
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($1 = 98.3550 roubles) (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Sharon Singleton)