(Adds detail, updates prices)
MOSCOW, Aug 16 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble fell for the third straight day on Friday, nearing its weakest levels since early May in thin trade, as investors preferred to minimise risks ahead of the weekend amid increased uncertainty on global markets.
The rouble fell victim to international financial turbulence that was aggravated this week by concerns about a possible recession in the U.S. economy, slowing growth in Germany as well as the trade conflict between Washington and Beijing.
“The rouble remains vulnerable amid instability on global markets,” Nordea Bank analysts said.
At 1403 GMT, the rouble was 0.6% weaker against the dollar at 66.45, moving towards 66.59, its lowest level since May 3.
“We see the rouble losing 0.5-1.0% today if risk aversion picks up ahead of the weekend,” said Sberbank CIB, an investment unit of Russia’s largest lender Sberbank.
So far this week, the rouble shed around 1.7% of its value against the U.S. currency.
Versus the euro, the rouble eased 0.2% to trade at 73.60 .
A recovery in prices for oil, Russia’s main export, could not keep the Russian stock markets from falling. After two days of losses, Brent crude oil was up 0.3% at $58.42 a barrel.
The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.6% to 1,243.4 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.1% lower at 2,637 points, moving towards its lowest level since late May of 2,620.20.
Demand for risky assets remains low while volatility on Western stock markets remains high, Olma brokerage said.
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For Russian treasury bonds see (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Anna Rzhevkina; Editing by Stephen Powell)