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EMERGING MARKETS-Russian rouble down on weaker oil, other currencies sluggish

* C. European currencies fall again on virus fears

* U.S. limits access to goods for Russia

* Polish zloty drops to early November lows

* S. African rand and Turkish lira reverse early losses

Dec 22 (Reuters) - Weaker oil prices drove the Russian rouble lower for a third session on Tuesday, while other emerging market currencies struggled for headway as a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain in Britain sparked global recovery fears.

Currencies of oil exporters Russia and Mexico fell the most as crude prices dropped nearly 2%, adding to steep losses on Monday on worries about tighter restrictions.

The Turkish lira and the South African rand steadied after early losses.

“It is a reality check for markets that were extremely optimistic that the war against the virus was over,” said Piotr Matys, FX strategist at Rabobank.

“Investors are expected to keep some risk off the books on these virus developments and as we enter the holiday season.”

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration late on Monday released a list of Chinese and Russian companies allegedly linked to the military, limiting their access to a wide range of American goods and technology, further weighing on the rouble.

The highly contagious coronavirus strain has shut down much of Britain and has prompted several countries to close their borders to British travellers and freight.

The move came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned a mutated variant of the virus, up to 70% more transmissible, had been identified in the country.

Central European currencies also extended losses against the euro with Poland’s Zloty trading at early November lows, while Hungary’s forint and the Czech crown dropped 0.4% and 0.2%.

MSCI’s index of emerging market stocks dropped 0.5% to a one-week low, while currencies were a softened by 0.1%.

Asian stocks also continued to fall as optimism about the rollout of vaccines and the approval of U.S. stimulus package were overshadowed by risks around the virus has already killed about 1.7 million people worldwide.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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