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Ruble Gains for Third Day on Crude Oil, Company Taxes

The ruble strengthened for a third day as oil rose and companies bought the currency to pay taxes, offsetting earlier losses after European officials failed to agree on a debt-reduction package for Greece.

The ruble closed up 0.4 percent against the dollar at 31.1810 in Moscow, reversing an earlier 0.5 percent drop. It gained 0.3 percent versus the euro to 40.0100 and added 0.3 percent against the central bank’s euro-dollar target basket.

Companies are buying the ruble ahead of payouts to the government next week including mineral extraction and profit taxes, which OAO Nomos Bank estimates at about 400 billion rubles ($12.8 billion). With creditors led by Germany refusing to put up fresh money or offer debt relief, finance chiefs were unable to scrape together enough funds from other sources to help alleviate Greece’s debt burden. Oil, Russia’s main export earner, gained as much as 1.3 percent in New York.

The beginning of the tax period “offers considerable support for the national currency,” Alexei Egorov, an analyst at Moscow-based Nomos, said by e-mail.

Non-deliverable forwards showed the ruble at 31.6646 per dollar in three months compared with 31.7615 yesterday.

The extra yield investors demand to own Russia’s dollar bonds over U.S. Treasuries dropped one basis point to 194, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index. An index of five-year government bond yields fell 24 basis points to 6.7107 percent.

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