Ruble notes
Russian ruble holds near 3-week high as oil prices stabilise Reuters

The Russian rouble, which has been rising over the past few days, hit a 20-day low on Monday with crude prices stabilising near $80 per barrel.

The currency continued to stay firm near the new low on Tuesday even as key officials stress the need to regulate oil output.

The USD/RUB traded near 45.0 most of early European hours, slightly away from Monday's low of 44.36, and before edging back up to 45.30.

The pair had touched a record high of 48.60 earlier this month, where the rouble was 38% weaker from this year's low of 30.0 hit in February. In the past few days, the Russian unit has recovered more than 9%.

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak told a local TV that his country would like to keep its oil production steady. In fact the country wants the output to be slashed to push up prices.

Russia is one of the world's top three crude oil producers, along with the United States and Saudi Arabia. It pumped as much as 10.6 million bpd last month, which was a post-Soviet high.

The country, which is reeling under strict global sanctions after the Ukraine conflict, needs crude prices around $100 to help stabilise the economy, according to industry analysts.

"We think that our contribution, in principle, is that we are keeping our oil production. We are not increasing," Novak told Rossia-24 state television in an interview.

His comments came three days ahead of an Opec meeting in Vienna where the issue of output and prices will be discussed.

A local newspaper said Russia might suggest cutting its oil production by around 15 million tons a year (300,000 barrels per day) from next year and that it expected Opec countries to limit their output by another 70 million tons.

With benchmark Brent prices down around 30% since June, some analysts are of the view that an Opec cut of as much as 1.5 million barrels per day may be needed to support oil prices.

Novak estimated that currently supply is some 700,000 to 800,000 bpd higher than demand. Russia plans to keep oil production at around 520 million to 525 million tons a year (10.4-10.5 million bpd) until 2020, he said.

Russia might suffer a loss of at least $140bn every year due to the economic sanctions and falling oil prices, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.

"We lose about $40bn due to sanctions and another $90-100bn due to the 30% drop of oil price," Siluanov said.