The Russian ruble weakened against the U.S. dollar and the euro on Tuesday, as political and economic uncertainty lingered in Europe and investors grew increasingly jittery over Greece and Italy's ability to solve their debt problems quickly.
As of 11:30 a.m. Moscow time, the ruble fell 24 kopecks against the dollar to 30.66 and one kopeck against the euro to 41.69. The value of the bi-currency basket, comprising $0.55 and 0.45 euros, rose 5 kopecks to 35.58 rubles compared to Monday's close, MICEX data showed.
Global prices for Brent crude edged up 0.2 percent to $112.10 per barrel on Tuesday on news that commercial oil inventories in the United States dropped by an estimated 1 million barrels.
Russia's dollar-denominated RTS stock index edged up 0.19 percent to 1,530.01, while the ruble-denominated MICEX went up 0.69 percent to 1,494.67.
On Monday, Italy's Finance Ministry sold 3 billion euros worth of five-year sovereign bonds at 14-year record high yields of 6.29 percent, which caused a new wave of uncertainty on the market and increased investors' fears about the ability of the eurozone's third largest economy to refinance its debt, which currently stands at 1.9 trillion euros ($2.6 trillion)..
In Greece, the leader of the center-right opposition Antonis Samaras said on Monday his New Democracy party would not vote for any new austerity plan demanded by international lenders as a condition for releasing an 8 billion euro ($11 billion) installment as part of a 130 billion euro bailout package.
European leaders are demanding Greek party leaders sign a commitment to fulfill the accords reached at the EU crisis summit in October, which resolved to write off some of Greece's debt in exchange for a new austerity program, which Greece must implement in the next few years to get financial aid and prevent a default.
European stocks fell in early trade on Tuesday by around 1 percent. Asian stocks decreased around 1 percent, while U.S. stocks fell 0.6-1 percent on the previous close.