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MOSCOW: The Russian rouble firmed on Wednesday ahead of an expected cut to interest rates by the US Federal Reserve for the first time in more than 10 years, while the Ukrainian hryvnia rallied to a thee-year high versus the US dollar.

Having been the best-performing currency for many weeks this year, the rouble has now been overtaken by the hryvnia. The Ukrainian currency has gained almost 11% this year, against a 10% rise in the rouble.

By 1145 GMT the rouble was up 0.1% against the dollar at 63.45 and was up 0.15% at 70.71 versus the euro .

The hryvnia was at 25.10 against the dollar, strengthening from around 27.45 in late 2018.

Demand for the hryvnia was boosted by investor optimism after the party of recently elected President Volodymyr Zelenskiy won parliamentary elections this month. The currency also gained support from high interest rates and demand for the country's public debt.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.5% at 1,359 points while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index firmed by 0.1% to 2,737 points.

Shares in Sberbank, Russia's top bank, were up 0.1% after it reported a 16.3% increase in second-quarter net profit.

Russian business conglomerate Sistema's shares advanced by 3.5% after real estate company Etalon Group said it was buying a 49% stake in Sistema's real estate development business, Leader Invest, for 14.6 billion rouble.

Copyright Reuters, 2019