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Russian Rouble Quoted Firmer in Thin Offshore Trade

March 8 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble was quoted firmer in thin offshore trade on Tuesday, with the local market closed for a public holiday.

The rouble has lost around 40% against the dollar since the start of the year, with losses sharply accelerating after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, a move that sparked sweeping sanctions from governments around the world.

The curbs on Russia, its lenders, companies and key individuals as well as counter measures from Moscow have made it increasingly difficult for investors to trade Russian assets.

At 0700 GMT, the rouble was bid at 125.0 against the greenback, according to Refinitiv data, more than 8% stronger than its closing level of 135.5.

The bid-ask spread was 15 roubles, pointing to a highly illiquid market.

A third round of talks between Russia and Ukraine on Monday made no major breakthrough.

A Ukrainian negotiator said although small progress on agreeing logistics for the evacuation of civilians had been made at the talks, things remained largely unchanged. A Russian negotiator said the talks had not been easy.

Currency trading is expected to resume on the Moscow Exchange on Wednesday, after being closed since Friday. Stock trading was restricted all last week by order of the central bank.

An investment firm that held some of Russian energy firm Gazprom's $1.3 billion bond that matured on Monday said it had received full payment in U.S. dollars.

Investors had been unsure if they would be paid after Russia placed restrictions on payments to foreigners holding its securities in response to the sanctions imposed by the West.

JPMorgan strategists touted the bonds of Russian companies with significant international operations as the best way to profit from distressed pricing. 

Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Andrew Heavens

Source: Reuters

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