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Rouble Falls Towards 75 vs Dollar, Sell-Off Hammers Bonds

MOSCOW, Nov 23 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble slipped towards the 75 mark against the dollar on Tuesday, hovering near its weakest level since mid-2021 and hurt by fears of war with Ukraine that also triggered a massive sell-off on the government bond market.

At 0710 GMT, the rouble was 0.2% weaker against the dollar at 74.97 after falling to 75.0650 and stopping a whisker away from 75.0750, its weakest point since July 8 that it hit on Monday.

The rouble has come under selling pressure this month on Western concerns over possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Moscow has dismissed such suggestions as inflammatory and complained about increasing activity in the region by the NATO military alliance.

The rouble extended losses this week after Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service likened the situation in Ukraine to the lead-up to the war in Georgia in 2008.

"There are no signs of de-escalation or easing on the immediate horizon but the hope is that there is no escalation. The rhetoric and headlines can be expected to dampen sentiment towards Russian assets again this week," Alfa Bank said in a note.

Versus the euro, the rouble fell 0.4% to 84.20 .

The market sell-off hit Russian OFZ treasury bonds. Yields on 10-year benchmark OFZs , which move inversely with their prices, soared to 8.63% this week, a level last seen in early 2019.

OFZ bonds are popular among foreign investors thanks to their lucrative yields and expectations that the central bank will keep its monetary policy tight for months to fight stubbornly high inflation.

The weaker rouble carries the risk of even higher inflation that dents living standards and remains one of the main concerns for Russian households.

The central bank did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment on the tanking rouble.

Russian stock indexes were also down.

The dollar-denominated RTS index fell 0.8% to 1,616.6 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index shed 1% to 3,833.3 points after hitting 3,776.61, its lowest since early August.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Giles Elgood

Source: Reuters

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