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Kazakh c.banker says oil and FX reserves supporting Russian rouble

ALMATY, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's central bank governor said on Thursday it expected the Russian rouble to perform better than other emerging market currencies, owing mainly to high oil prices and Russia's strong gold and hard currency reserves.

Kairat Kelimbetov made his remarks to clarify his statement to an audience in Geneva on Wednesday, in which he questioned the stability of the rouble.

Addressing academics and diplomats at Geneva's Graduate Institute, Kelimbetov said he expected to see "a lot of emerging market currency devaluations" this year, with the Russian rouble likely to be "close to collapse again".

Kazakhstan, a vast steppe nation of 17 million which lies in Central Asia, is the second-largest post-Soviet economy and oil producer after its giant neighbour Russia, which remains its main trade partner.

Kazakhstan sees continued impact on emerging market currencies from the U.S. Federal Reserve System's gradual withdrawal of its quantitative easing policy, governor Kelimbetov told Reuters by telephone.

"If the FRS continues this policy, then emerging market currencies will in principle weaken this year," he said. "But to what extent and which currency - it will depend on the policy of a certain central bank and the balance of payments."

"While the Brent (benchmark oil brand) stays at around $110 per barrel, while (Russia's) gold and hard currency reserves are worth half a trillion dollars, I believe the rouble is the most stable among emerging market currencies," he said.

"There will be general weakening of (emergency market) currencies, but the rouble is comparatively stable."

The rout in emerging markets on worries about China's economic health and the United States reducing its monetary stimulus have pushed the rouble down nearly 6 percent versus the dollar this year.

Last September, Kazakhstan's central bank pegged the national tenge currency to a basket of foreign currencies, including the dollar, the euro and the rouble, introducing a system similar to that used by Russia.

(Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Alison Williams)