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Russian Rouble Pares Gains after Hitting over 5-Week High

MOSCOW, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble hit its highest mark in more than five weeks versus the dollar before paring gains on Monday, amid lingering concerns over a geopolitical standoff between Moscow and the West.

By 1255 GMT, the rouble was 0.2% stronger against the dollar at 73.54 , earlier clipping 73.0825, its strongest point since Nov. 19.

"In the short term we see the rouble in the range of 72.5-74.5 versus the dollar," analysts at Sberbank Asset Management said in a note.

The rouble had gained 0.1% to trade at 83.21 versus the euro , earlier touching a near two-week high of 82.7975.

The rouble has been under increased geopolitical pressure since October as Western nations expressed concerns about Russia's military build-up near its neighbour Ukraine. Moscow said it can move its army within its territory as it deems necessary.

It is highly likely that geopolitical tensions will be a cause for citizens to convert roubles into foreign currency in the near term, said Maxim Petronevich, chief economist at Otkritie Research.

President Vladimir Putin last week said Russia had received a generally positive initial response to security proposals it handed to the United States this month designed to defuse the current situation over Ukraine and that he was hopeful about the prospect for negotiations next year. 

Promsvyazbank analysts said the background for rouble was neutral, noting that trading activity would likely be low due to continued Christmas holidays in Europe. Trading activity is likely to wane further ahead of Russia's long New Year holidays.

Brent crude oil , a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.1% at $76.10 a barrel, still hampered by concerns the Omicron coronavirus variant may slow down the global economic recovery.

Russian stock indexes were up.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.7% at 1,595.5 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.6% higher at 3,725.1 points.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Additional reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shailesh Kuber

Source: Reuters

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