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Ruble Weakens as Oil Slides Third day, Monthly Tax Payments

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The ruble weakened to the lowest in a week as oil, Russia’s chief export earner, fell for a third day and demand for the currency waned after companies finished paying their month-end taxes.

Russia’s currency depreciated 0.5 percent against the dollar to 32.0200 at 7 p.m. in Moscow, the weakest level since Aug. 20. It slipped 0.9 percent versus the euro to 40.2400, leaving it 0.7 percent lower against the central bank’s currency basket.

Brent crude slid less than 0.1 percent to $112.25 a barrel today after dropping 2.4 percent in the previous two sessions, the biggest two-day retreat in a month. Russian exporters have paid about 350 billion rubles in corporate income tax, according to Ivan Sinelnikov, a macroeconomist at Gazprombank in Moscow.

“The Russian currency depreciated amid deteriorating external conditions such as unsustainable dynamics of crude oil prices,” Sinelnikov said by phone today.

Russian companies are also set to pay $13 billion to $14 billion as interest on foreign debt in September, Andrey Volkov, the head of foreign exchange and money markets at ZAO Natixis Bank in Moscow, said by e-mail today.

Investors increased bets on the ruble weakening against the dollar, with non-deliverable forwards showing the currency at 32.5057 in three months versus 32.3650 yesterday.

The extra yield investors demand to own Russia’s dollar bonds over U.S. Treasuries rose one basis point to 228, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index. An index of two-year government bond yields compiled by Micex rose one basis point to 6.9 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in Moscow at lpronina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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