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UPDATE 1-Rouble firms to near 2-week high, Russian stocks edge higher

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* This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine (Updates prices)

By Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW, Sept 13 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble reversed early losses to strengthen on Tuesday, firming past 60 against the dollar for the first time in almost two weeks as the market braced for U.S. inflation data and looked ahead to Friday’s benchmark interest rate decision.

By 0834 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% stronger against the dollar at 60.06, earlier clipping 59.9425, its strongest point since Aug. 31. It had lost 0.1% to trade at 60.83 versus the euro.

Promsvyazbank analysts said the rouble may test the 60 mark against the greenback this week, but volatility is likely to remain subdued.

This year, the rouble has been the world’s best-performing currency https://emea1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/Apps/NewsServices/mediaProxy?apiKey=6d416f26-7b24-4f31-beb6-1b5aa0f3fafb&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffingfx.thomsonreuters.com%2Fgfx%2Frngs%2FGLOBAL-CURRENCIES-PERFORMANCE%2F0100301V041%2Findex.html, buoyed by emergency capital controls rolled out by the central bank in a bid to halt a mass sell-off after Russia began what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Investors are looking ahead to U.S. inflation figures, due at 1230 GMT, and Friday’s key interest rate decision, with the majority of analysts polled by Reuters expecting the Bank of Russia to cut by 50 basis points to 7.5%.

Russia, which in February suspended weekly auctions of the OFZ treasury bonds it uses to plug budget holes, is due to return to the debt market on Wednesday.

Moscow Exchange extended currency and stock market trading hours this week and welcomed back non-residents from “friendly” countries, those that have not imposed sanctions against Moscow.

Concerns over admitting non-residents to trade in shares did not amount to much, said Georgy Vashchenko, deputy director of Freedom Finance Global’s research department.

“Anxious expectations from some investors about a sell-off, which non-residents might have organised, in our opinion, had no real grounds,” Vashchenko said.

Russian stocks were rising.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.5% at 1,286.9 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.2% higher at 2,453.7 points.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; editing by Jason Neely)



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