Rouble firms slightly on tax payments, stocks mixed

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MOSCOW: The Russian rouble firmed slightly on Thursday thanks to demand from Russian exporters converting their foreign currency revenues to meet monthly tax payments, but volumes were low as U.S markets were closed for Thanksgiving. The rouble firmed 0.1 percent to 65.61 versus the dollar as of 0748 GMT, heading away from its weakest point this moth of 68.28 hit in mid-November. Versus the euro, the rouble was unchanged ad 74.76. “The external background is neutral for the rouble for now,” said Alexei Antonov, an analyst at Alor Brokerage. “We do not yet see factors capable of driving the rouble beyond the 65 mark (against the dollar),” Antonov said. He said the tax payment period was seen as supportive of the Russian currency, which usually gets a boost closer to the second half of every month when export-focused companies convert their dollar revenues to meet local tax duties. This support is likely to last for a few more days even if a rally in other emerging market currencies proves to be short-lived, said analysts at Rosbank, subsidiary of Societe Generale.