Rouble reaches 15-month high vs euro on Fed rate cut hopes

MOSCOW, July 11 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble gained against the dollar on Thursday and reached its strongest level against the euro since April 2018, after the U.S. Federal Reserve boosted expectations of an imminent interest rate cut.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell set the stage for a rate cut later this month, saying on Wednesday the central bank stands ready to "act as appropriate" to support record-breaking U.S. economic growth.

At 0743 GMT, the rouble was 0.2% stronger against the dollar at 63.04 and earlier slid below 63 for the first time since July 2. It was 0.1% stronger against the euro at 71.02 after reaching 70.72, a level last seen in April 2018 .

After Powell's dovish message, the market sees a 73.5% probability rates will be cut by 25 basis points and a 26.5% probability they will be cut by 50 basis points .

Expectations of lower rates in the United States usually support emerging-market assets, including the Russian rouble and bonds.

"The nearest prospects look optimistic for the rouble," Nordea Bank analysts said in a note.

Oil prices, which usually set the tone for Russian markets, rose to a six-week high as oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated ahead of a storm. Brent crude futures were up 0.6% at $67.39 a barrel.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.1% to 1,409.6 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.1% lower at 2,820.0 points, pricing in the rouble's advance.

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