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Rouble Firms Towards 61 vs Dollar on Tax Payments Support

MOSCOW, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The rouble traded near 61 to the dollar on Friday and strengthened against the euro and yuan, supported by a favourable month-end tax period as geopolitics continued to hold sway over Russian markets.

At 0753 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 61.31 , having opened at 61.1125, its strongest point since Oct. 10.

It had gained 0.6% to trade at 60.22 versus the euro and firmed 0.5% against the yuan to 8.40 , earlier clipping a more than two-week high.

"The Russian currency continues to consolidate on the back of the tax period," Veles Capital said in a note.

The rouble is buttressed by a month-end tax period that usually sees export-focused firms convert foreign exchange revenues into roubles to pay domestic tax liabilities.

The ever-present threat of more Western sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine continues to hang over Russian markets, which remain susceptible to wild bouts of volatility.

Investors are also looking ahead to next week's central bank rate decision.

"Since the September meeting, both new proinflationary and disinflationary factors have emerged," said Igor Rapokhin, chief debt market strategist at SberCIB Investment Research, expecting the Bank of Russia to hold its key rate at 7.5% on Oct. 28.

Brent crude oil , a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.6% at $91.9 a barrel.

"The Russian stock market is still dominated by sentiment trading," said BCS Global Markets. "Since late September, the iMOEX has entered a consolidation phase, and seesawing may continue in the short term."

Russian stock indexes were lower on Friday.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.6% to 1,034.8 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.5% lower at 2,014.7 points.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Source: Reuters

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