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rouble-MOSCOW: The rouble firmed versus the dollar to its strongest level since mid-September at Thursday's open and stock markets climbed higher after European leaders reached a deal with investors to write down a 50 percent loss on Greek government bonds.

The agreement calls for banks to accept a nominal 50 percent cut in bond investments to reduce Greece's debt burden by 100 billion euros.

News of the deal has pressured the dollar while improving risk perception, and as a result the rouble firmed 1.5 percent to 30.24 against the greenback by 0808 GMT, a level last seen on Sept. 15.

"Today there should be many participants willing to re-enter rouble positions on the back of positive developments in Europe, given that the Russian currency looks undervalued compared to its peers," said Nikita Chudnov, a dealer at Nomos bank.

Against the euro, the rouble was steady at 42.40 and strengthened 0.8 percent to 35.71 versus the euro-dollar basket, comprised of 0.55 dollars and 0.45 euros.

The ongoing tax payment period adds upside risk for the rouble, as it prompts export-focused companies to convert foreign currencies to meet local liabilities.

The rouble also gets support from liquidity strains as many players find it cheaper to convert dollars than to borrow at an overnight rate of above 5.0 percent.

Copyright Reuters, 2011

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