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Russian rouble edges lower as month-end tax support passes

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MOSCOW — The rouble edged lower against the dollar, euro and yuan on Tuesday, as the Russian currency began trading without the support of a favorable month-end tax period and investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting.

The Fed is all but certain to raise interest rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday, but investors will be watchful for any signals that the pace of interest rate hikes may decelerate in the future.

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At 0723 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 61.53 and had lost 0.3% to trade at 61.05 versus the euro. It had shed 0.3% against the yuan to 8.41.

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The rouble has now lost the support of month-end tax payments, that usually see export-focused firms convert foreign currency revenues to pay local liabilities.

The rouble may attempt to weaken past 62 against the greenback, Banki.ru chief analyst Bogdan Zvarich said.

“In the course of trading we expect pressure on the national currency to remain, which will be facilitated by the lower supply of foreign currency from exporters due to the passing of the peak of tax payments,” Zvarich added.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 1.4% at $94.1 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were climbing, trading at their highest in over a month.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.5% to 1,116.7 points, earlier touching its strongest point since Sept. 30. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.7% higher at 2,182.8 points, earlier reaching its highest mark since Sept. 23.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see (Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editinjg by Andrew Heavens)

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