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Ruble Weakens 10th Day Versus Dollar as OPEC Spurs Oil Slump

The ruble weakened for a 10th day against the dollar after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised its production ceiling, spurring a decline in oil prices.

The Russian currency depreciated 0.7 percent to 31.815 at the close in Moscow, extending its worst losing streak since January 2009. The ruble was 1 percent stronger at 41.34 versus the euro, leaving it little changed at 36.1013 against the central bank’s target dollar-euro basket.

Oil, Russia’s chief export earner, fell 3.4 percent to $96.68 a barrel in New York crude futures trading after Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said OPEC decided an output target of 30 million barrels a day at the group’s meeting in Vienna.

“This is another reason to be, at best, cautious towards the ruble,” Benoit Anne, the London-based head of emerging-markets strategy at Societe Generale SA, said by e-mail. “The ruble didn’t move much today, but I’d call it the calm before the storm. I’m still waiting for a downgrade in the European Union by S&P.”

Germany may be stripped of the AAA credit rating it has held since 1983, Standard & Poor’s said Dec. 5. The nation, along with AAA-rated France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Luxembourg, were among 15 countries in the euro area that were put on review for possible downgrades. The European Union is Russia’s largest trading partner.

Investors increased bets the Russian currency will weaken further, with non-deliverable forwards showing the ruble at 32.283 per dollar in three months, compared with expectations of 32.1575 per dollar yesterday.

Russia’s dollar-denominated Eurobond due in 2020 rose for a second day, pushing the yield four basis points lower to 4.628 percent.

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