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Ruble Falls Versus Basket Amid Bank Rossii Purchase Speculation

The ruble weakened against Bank Rossii’s target dollar-euro basket amid speculation the central bank was buying other currencies to slow its gains. Local bond yields rose.

The ruble dropped 0.4 percent to 33.7368 against the basket by the 7 p.m. close in Moscow, a fourth day of losses. Russia’s 140 billion rubles ($4.8 billion) of domestic OFZ bonds due August 2016 fell for a second day, increasing the yield one basis point to 7.39 percent.

Bank Rossii manages the ruble within a so-called “floating corridor” against a basket of dollars and euros to limit swings that erode exporters’ competitiveness. The current level against the basket implies the bank may be buying about $240 million a day in other currencies against the ruble, said Sergey Fishgoyt, deputy head of foreign exchange at Otkritie Bank in Moscow.

“There’s no European trading today, but the central bank is still buying at these levels,” he said by e-mail.

Russia’s markets are open today to replace the April 30 public holiday. The ruble lost 0.3 percent to 29.41 a dollar and depreciated 0.4 percent to 39.025 a euro.

“It’s very quiet today, no flows, no ideas, no moves,” Igor Akinshin, a currency trader at Alfa Bank in Moscow, said by e-mail. “It’s like the market is frozen.”

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