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MOSCOW: The Russian rouble strengthened on Friday, trading in a narrow range between 60 and 61 to the dollar as it has for much of the week, supported by exporters buying roubles to cover month-end tax payments.

At 0710 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% stronger against the dollar at 60.50 and had gained 0.5% to trade at 62.90 versus the euro. It had firmed 0.3% against the yuan to 8.43.

The rouble has been painting a similar picture of late, said Alexei Antonov of Alor Broker, rising for most of the day and giving up gains in the last two hours of trading.

“This trading pattern is likely to continue today,” Antonov said.

The rouble is supported by a month-end tax period in which exporters usually convert foreign exchange revenue into roubles to pay domestic liabilities.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.3% at $85.6 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were mixed.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.4% to 1,150.9 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.1% lower at 2,209.6 points.

Market participants were fairly inactive during the previous session, said Sinara Investment Bank. The one “bright spot” was the dynamics of Veon securities.

The Amsterdam-listed telecoms operator’s shares soared after it announced plans to sell its Russian business, Vimpelcom, to senior members of the Vimpelcom management team, for 130 billion roubles ($2.2 billion).

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