Ruble Strengthens to Dollar as Crude Rises, Companies Pay Taxes

The ruble strengthened against the dollar as oil rose for a fifth day and companies bought the local currency to pay tax.

The ruble traded up 0.1 percent against the dollar at 31.0150 as of 2:22 p.m. in Moscow. The Russian currency traded little changed at 34.9191 against Bank Rossii’s dollar-euro basket. The yield on benchmark OFZ bonds due Feb. 2027 declined by one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 7.41 percent.

Brent oil advanced 0.2 percent in London to $109.87 per barrel. Russia’s monthly tax period ends today with 600 billion rubles ($19.4 billion) of payments due, according to Gazprombank estimates.

The “positive impact of oil prices will be leveled out by declining export revenue sale after today’s corporate income tax payment,” analysts at OAO Rosbank (ROSB) led by Vladimir Kolychev said in a note to clients.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its end-2013 ruble forecast to 36.70 rubles from 35.70 rubles against the basket. The ruble will weaken as Bank Rossii starts lowering rates as early as May, with a total of 75 basis points of cuts seen this year, the analysts forecast in an e-mailed note today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vladimir Kuznetsov in Moscow at vkuznetsov2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net

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