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Russian Rouble Pares Gains, U.S. Bond Selloff Boosts Dollar

MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble gave up earlier gains on Friday as oil prices slipped and the dollar firmed against most major currencies due to rising U.S. Treasury yields.

At 1255 GMT, the rouble was flat against the dollar at 74.77 , off an earlier peak of 74.2475 and the overnight high of 73.3250, which was its strongest level since Feb. 16.

Versus the euro, the rouble was up 0.4% at 90.58 .

Other risk currencies such as the pound, Aussie and Kiwi dollars also took a knock as the dollar gained.

Government bonds, and particularly U.S. Treasuries, have become the focal point of markets globally. Traders have moved aggressively to price in earlier monetary tightening than the Federal Reserve and other central banks have signalled.

The 10-year U.S. yield, at roughly 1.5%, now matches the dividend yield of the S&P 500. That means a risk-free U.S. government bond yields as much as the average Wall Street stock’s dividend.

“The surging 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has again made stocks look relatively less attractive, prompting some profit-taking in major bourses – Russia will not likely be immune,” BCS brokerage said.

Domestically, the rouble has been under pressure from worries about fresh sanctions against Russia for weeks, but concerns eased after the European Union agreed this week to impose only limited sanctions, in what appeared a mainly symbolic response to the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Brent crude oil was down 1.2% at $66.05, pricing in the stronger dollar and expectations of an increase in crude supply levels in response to prices climbing above pre-pandemic levels.

Russian stock indexes tumbled along with their peers in Asia and Europe.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 2.3% at 1,417.19. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1.4% lower at 3,362.04.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh, additional reporting by Anna Rzhevkina. Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Mark Potter

Source: Reuters

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