Ruble Drops 1st Day in 6 on Tax; Bank Rossii Bought FX Last Week

The ruble snapped five days of gains as demand for the currency to pay taxes ebbed. Russia’s central bank said it bought foreign currency on Jan. 24 for the first time in two weeks.

The ruble fell 0.2 percent to 30.0940 against the dollar by 11.46 a.m. in Moscow. It declined 0.1 percent against Bank Rossii’s target basket to 34.7575, weaker than the 34.65 level at which traders say the central bank may intervene to curb gains that can hurt exporter competetiveness. Ruble futures for March settlement showed ruble at 30.33 per dollar, down 0.2 percent.

Companies pay profit tax today, the last levy scheduled for the month, ING Groep NV (INGA) analysts wrote in an e-mailed note. Bank Rossii spent 1.97 billion rubles ($65 million) buying foreign currency on Jan. 24, the day the ruble closed little changed against the basket. The regulator last intervened Jan. 11, when it bought 0.19 billion rubles of foreign currency.

The ruble will weaken further against the dollar “once we are done with taxes,” Artem Roschin, a foreign currency dealer at Aljba Alliance Bank, said by phone from Moscow. “Until about February 15 there will be no taxes.”

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