Ruble, Russian Stocks Fall to Lowest in Week on Oil, Greece

Russian stocks and the ruble fell to the lowest level in a week as oil and metals slid and speculation a bailout package for Greece will unravel damped appetite for riskier assets.

OAO Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer fell 1.4 percent and OAO Sberbank, the country’s biggest bank, dropped 1.8 percent. The Micex Index fell as much as 1.2 percent before closing 0.1 percent lower at 1,476.59 in Moscow, its weakest since March 31. The ruble slipped 0.4 percent to 29.4500 against the dollar.

Stocks in the world’s biggest energy supplier snapped the longest rally since 2005 yesterday after advancing 8.8 percent in March on higher commodity prices. Crude oil for May delivery dropped as much as 1.6 percent today to $84.48 in New York on concern a rescue package to help Greece cut Europe’s biggest budget deficit will founder, slowing the global recovery.

“Commodities have fallen and Greece is clearly in play again,” Clemens Grafe, chief economist at UBS AG in Moscow. “An immediate solution to Greece’s problems is probably still a month away.”

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped as much as 1.5 percent to $7,826 a metric ton. Five of the six metals on the LME traded lower.

Investors increased bets that the ruble will weaken further against the dollar, with non-deliverable forwards showing the currency at 29.66 per dollar in three months compared with an NDF of 29.56 on April 7. The contracts are a guide to expectations of currency movements as they allow foreign investors and companies to fix the exchange rate at a particular level in the future.

The ruble weakened by 0.3 at 39.2450 per euro, leaving it 0.4 percent lower at 33.8602 against the central bank’s target currency basket, which it uses to smooth exchange-rate swings that hurt exporters.

The basket is calculated by multiplying the dollar’s rate to the ruble by 0.55, the euro to ruble rate by 0.45, then adding them together. The ruble remains within the 26 to 41 band the central bank pledged January 2009 to defend.

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