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Ruble Jumps Most This Month as Companies Buy Currency to Pay Tax

The ruble jumped the most this month, bolstered by monthly tax payments, even as a software glitch halted currency trading at the Moscow Exchange for more than 2 1/2 hours.

The ruble appreciated 0.3 percent to 31.6800 against the dollar by 7 p.m. in Moscow, the biggest gain since Nov. 1. Trading stopped at 3:58 p.m. in Moscow.

Russian companies are supporting the ruble by buying the currency to pay taxes, starting tomorrow, Igor Akinshin, a trader at Moscow-based Alfa Bank, said by phone. The Moscow Exchange resumed trading at 6:40 p.m., it said on its website. The halt was due to a software error, Micex spokesman Nikita Bekasov said by phone.

“The corporates see a good rate and many wanted to convert ahead of the tax period,” Akinshin said by phone.

The ruble fell 0.1 percent versus the euro at 40.3825 and was up 0.1 percent against the central bank’s euro-dollar target basket at 35.5961.

Russia’s Finance Ministry sold the smallest amount of ruble-denominated government bonds due in 2027 today as Europe’s debt crisis curbed appetite for riskier assets. It sold 9.03 billion rubles ($286 million) out of 25 billion rubles offered of so-called OFZs at an average yield of 7.72 percent, the top end of guidance given yesterday.

Non-deliverable forwards showed the ruble at 32.1698 per dollar in three months compared with 32.2265 yesterday.

The extra yield that investors demand to own Russia’s dollar bonds over U.S. Treasuries fell three basis points to 198, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index. An index of five-year government bond yields rose six basis points to 7.1283 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in London at lpronina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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