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Ruble Rises Fifth Day Against Dollar to Three-Week High on Oil

The ruble strengthened against the dollar for a fifth day to a three-week high on optimism the U.S. economic recovery will bolster demand for oil, the country’s biggest export.

The Russian currency appreciated 0.2 percent to 31.1400 by closure at 7 p.m. in Moscow, heading for its strongest level since Dec. 5. The ruble was little changed at 40.6625 versus the euro. That put it at 35.4251 against the central bank’s target dollar-euro basket, a fourth day of advances.

Oil futures rose 15 cents to $99.68 a barrel on Dec. 23 after U.S. initial jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since April 2008. Markets in the U.S. and western Europe are closed for the Christmas holiday today.

Russia’s central bank cut the refinancing rate to 8 percent from 8.25 percent Dec. 23 after inflation eased to 6.4 percent as of Dec. 19 from a year earlier, heading for its lowest annual growth in two decades.

Investors pared bets the Russian currency will weaken further, with non-deliverable forwards showing the ruble at 31.5715 per dollar in three months, compared with expectations of 31.6365 per dollar yesterday. The contracts are a guide to expectations of currency movements as they allow investors and companies to fix the exchange rate at a particular level in the future.

Russia’s dollar-denominated Eurobond due in 2020 fell, pushing the yield two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, higher to 4.617 percent.

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