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Ruble Gains Second Day as Oil Advances on Middle East Concerns

The ruble advanced for a second day as oil, Russia’s chief export earner, rose on concern escalating tensions between Syria and Turkey may disrupt supplies from the Middle East.

The ruble gained 0.3 percent to 31.0075 against the dollar at 7 p.m. in Moscow. The Russian currency slid 0.2 percent versus the euro to 40.2200, leaving it little changed against the central bank’s euro-dollar target basket at 35.1531.

Crude oil gained as much as 1.9 percent to $92.94 a barrel in New York after Turkey seized cargo on a Syrian passenger plane and unconfirmed media reports said weapons and military communications gear had been discovered. Oil and gas account for about 50 percent of Russia’s government revenue. U.S. applications for jobless benefits dropped 30,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Oct. 6, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today.

Climbing oil prices “offer strong support to the national currency,” Alexei Egorov, an analyst with Moscow-based OAO Nomos Bank, said by e-mail. “With good data from the U.S. on first-time claims for unemployment benefits we should see further appreciation.”

The ruble lost as much as 0.4 percent earlier after Standard & Poor’s downgrade of Spain’s debt rating. S&P cited mounting economic and political risks for the downgrade to one level above junk, as Spain’s government considers requesting a sovereign bailout.

Non-deliverable forwards showed the ruble at 31.5075 per dollar in three months compared with 31.5835 yesterday.

The extra yield investors demand to own Russia’s dollar bonds over U.S. Treasuries fell four basis points 187, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index.

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