Russian rouble retreats from one-month high, stocks slip – Reuters

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MOSCOW, Dec 24 (Reuters) – The rouble weakened in light trade on Friday after touching a more than one-month high, while Russian stocks ticked lower, pressured by low appetite for risk and lingering concerns about the geopolitical standoff between Moscow and the West.

At 1311 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% weaker against the dollar at 73.53 after hitting 73.13, a level last seen on Nov. 19. Against the euro, the rouble shed 0.2% to 83.21 .

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

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President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had received a generally positive initial response to security proposals it handed to the United States this month designed to defuse the current crisis over Ukraine and that he was hopeful about the prospect for negotiations next year. read more

But Putin also said NATO had “brazenly tricked” Russia with successive waves of expansion since the Cold War, adding that Moscow needed an answer urgently.

“Very Russia-specific, U.S./West Russo-phobia and NATO expansion to Russia’s doorstep remain unresolved issues, albeit some hopes hang on the Biden-Putin talks that may come with the New Year, in January,” BCS Global Markets said in a note.

Russian stock indexes were down. The dollar-denominated RTS index (.IRTS) was 0.5% lower at 1,579.3 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index (.IMOEX) fell 0.5% to 3,686.4 points.

“Any little event could become a trigger (for market moves) given very low pre-holiday activity and trading volumes half the size of the previous week,” Sinara investment bank said in a note.

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Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Alexander Smith

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