Russian rouble hovers near more than one-week high vs dollar – Reuters

MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble steadied after touching a more than one-week high against the dollar on Friday, as uncertainty over Ukraine and the Omicron coronavirus variant weighed.

At 0801 GMT, the rouble was unchanged against the dollar at 73.66 , after hitting its strongest mark since Nov. 22 of 73.52 earlier in the day.

The dollar was stronger globally after hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials this week and ahead of key U.S. jobs data that could clear the path to earlier interest rate hikes.

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The rouble gained 0.2% to trade at 83.15 versus the euro , also hitting its strongest since Nov. 22.

Geopolitical risks have weighed on the rouble this month with Ukraine and the West saying Russia is amassing troops near Ukraine. Moscow has in turn accused Kyiv of pursuing its own military buildup and denied suggestions it is preparing an attack.

The United States has warned Russia it would pay “severe costs” if it were to invade Ukraine and on Thursday urged Moscow to seek a diplomatic exit from the crisis. read more

“Investors continue to shun Russia, Eastern European and EMEA equity funds aggressively for the second week in a row,” BCS Global Markets said in a note, listing Omicron and “Ukraine sabre rattling” among the main headwinds.

The rouble was boosted on Thursday when central bank Governor Nabiullina said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference that the bank would consider a sharp rate increase this month of up to 100 basis points. read more

Higher rates are positive for the rouble as they increase demand for Russian assets thanks to lucrative yields, and thus protect the currency from external shocks.

Brent crude oil , a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 2.4% at $71.34 a barrel, supporting Russian stock indexes.

The dollar-denominated RTS index (.IRTS) was up 0.5% to 1,698.2 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index (.IMOEX) was 0.6% higher at 3,970.5 points.

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For Russian treasury bonds see

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Reporting by Alexander Marrow;

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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