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- USD/RUB opens lower in line with EM peers and firmer oil markets.
- Brent continues its uptrend this morning, bolstered by signs of commitment to output cuts.
- Focus today remains squarely on the Navalny trial due to start at 0800GMT.
- RUB has been underperforming, based on expectations for EU & US sanctions action following the official imprisonment of Navalny for up to 3.5 years.
- Kremlin's hardline stance on the issue being strictly domestic, has accelerated calls for sanctions of key oligarchs and Russian officials. An overly harsh sentence will likely elicit a harsh sanctions approach from the EU (RUB negative), following Borrell's meeting at the end of the week.
- However, the Kremlin may try to buy time through a slightly reduced sentence and extend it later once the hype has died down.
- Sell-side still confident RUB remains undervalued, but stress timing remains key.
- Spot is holding below 76.00, but may drift higher towards 76.3870 on signs of a long sentence for Navalny.
- Easier sentence, may see a push lower towards 75.25, followed by 75.0908, however, uncertainty will likely keep the cross choppy in the near-term