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Russian Rouble Stable while Equities Firm

MOSCOW, Dec 28 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble was flat in light trade on Tuesday, under pressure from lingering geopolitical noise, while the benchmark MOEX stock index climbed to its highest in nearly two weeks, helped by a recovery in oil prices.

At 0720 GMT the rouble was little changed at 73.38 and flat at 83.12 versus the euro .

The rouble is expected to trade within a range of 73.0-74.5 versus the dollar and 83.0-84.0 against the euro in the near term, Sberbank Asset Management said in a note.

Trading activity has faded and is expected to stay below average until Jan. 10, the end of Russia's New Year holidays. The Moscow Exchange will be closed on Dec. 31, resuming trading on the forex market on Jan. 3.

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

The U.S. administration, which thinks that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering invading Ukraine, has promised swift and brutal sanctions in the event of such an incursion. Russia denies such intentions. 

Russia's foreign ministry on Tuesday confirmed that Moscow plans talks with Washington on Jan. 10.

Brent crude oil , a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was up 0.1% at $78.67 a barrel, compared with levels below $70 last week. Prices are trading near a one-month high on hopes that the Omicron coronavirus variant will have a limited impact on fuel demand.

Russian stock indexes were up.

The dollar-denominated RTS index gained 0.5% to 1,610.8 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was up 0.4% at 3,754.3 points after touching 3,768.4, its highest since Dec. 13.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh Editing by David Goodman

Source: Reuters

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