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MOSCOW: The Russian rouble steadied on Monday, recovering after slipping to a four-week low against the dollar in early trade, as the market prepared for Moscow to increase its foreign currency sales and new restrictions on Russian oil products took effect.

At 0738 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 70.57, earlier touching 70.9850, its weakest point since Jan. 9.

It had gained 1.1% to trade at 76.09 versus the euro and firmed 0.4% against the yuan to 10.38.

Russia plans to sell 8.9 billion roubles ($126.15 million) worth of foreign currency per day from Tuesday, a near three-fold increase on the previous month, compensating for lower oil and gas revenue.

That revenue in January fell to the lowest monthly level since August 2020, raising the prospect of Russia falling deeper into a budget deficit in the months ahead.

European Union countries last week agreed to set price caps at $100 per barrel on products that trade at a premium to crude, principally diesel, and $45 per barrel for products that trade at a discount, such as fuel oil and naphtha.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.9% at $80.7 a barrel.

Friday’s sharp drop in Brent prices, below $80 per barrel, could hurt investor sentiment in equities, unless a rebound comes today, Sinara Investment Bank wrote in a note.

Russian stock indexes were higher.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.2% higher at 2,253.5 points, earlier touching a near three-month high. The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.4% to 1,006.1 points.

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