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Ruble Rises 3rd Day Before Government Ruble Debt Auction

The ruble gained for a third day as oil, Russia’s biggest revenue earner, advanced and investors bought the currency ahead of a domestic bond auction tomorrow.

The ruble appreciated as much as 0.4 percent against the dollar today and traded less than 0.1 percent stronger at 30.7160 as of 7 p.m. in Moscow. The ruble was 0.2 percent down versus the central bank’s target euro-dollar basket at 34.8634 and declined 0.5 percent against the euro at 39.9325.

Urals crude, Russia’s main export blend, climbed 0.7 percent to $106.23 a barrel, the biggest advance since Nov. 29. Oil and gas account for about 50 percent of Russia’s government revenue. Russia is selling 50 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) of five- and 10-year so-called OFZ bonds tomorrow before opening the local market to more foreign investors via the world’s biggest settlement systems.

“Investors are buying the ruble on the expectations of capital inflow ahead of liberalization of the OFZ market,” Andrey Volkov, head of foreign exchange and money markets at ZAO Natixis Bank in Moscow, said by e-mail.

Russia is opening the local market to Euroclear Bank SA and Clearstream International SA by year-end. The Finance Ministry is adding 20 billion rubles of five-year OFZ notes to the auction tomorrow at a yield range of 6.48 percent to 6.53 percent. It is also selling 30 billion rubles of 10-year debt at 6.88 percent to 6.93 percent, according to the Finance Ministry’s website.

Foreign Buyers

“Foreign investors are positive about the ruble,” Mikhail Palei, deputy head of currency trading at VTB Capital, said by phone from Moscow. “They think the ruble should strongly appreciate against the basket, expecting a level of below 34 rubles, and therefore they are selling the dollar.”

Palei said the ruble may strengthen to 30.5 per dollar by the end of this week.

Non-deliverable forwards showed the ruble at 31.1605 per dollar in three months compared with 31.1630 yesterday.

The extra yield investors demand to own Russia’s dollar bonds over U.S. Treasuries fell five basis points to 185, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index. An index of five-year government bond yields fell two basis points to 6.4663 percent.

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