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MOSCOW: The Russian rouble firmed against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, helped by signs of a thaw in trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, and ahead of the outcome of a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting.

At 0704 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% stronger against the dollar at 65.32 and had gained 0.2% to trade at 71.94 versus the euro.

China moved to exempt some U.S. anti-cancer drugs and other goods from tariffs earlier this week and Washington announced a delay to scheduled tariff hikes on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods. The moves happened ahead of fresh talks between the world's two largest economies.

"This looks like a symbolic step rather than a beginning of a way out of the crisis, but it is still enough for investors for now," Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist at the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was up 0.4% at $61.0 a barrel.

Traders in the rouble currency were also focused on the ECB meeting, Polevoy said. The ECB is set to unveil fresh stimulus measures on Thursday to prop up the ailing euro zone economy, but its exact moves are far from certain.

Russian stock indexes were mixed.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.2% to 1,356.81 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.2% lower at 2,812.45 points.