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Ruble Weakens First Day in Six as Investors Bet Rally Overdone

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The ruble snapped five days of gains as investors bet a 12 percent rally since May was overdone and Russia’s central bank said it bought foreign currency for the first time in two weeks.

The ruble fell 0.3 percent to 30.1100 against the dollar by 7 p.m. in Moscow. It declined 0.2 percent against Bank Rossii’s target basket to 34.8035. That’s 15 kopeks weaker than the 34.65 level at which traders say the central bank may intervene to curb gains that can hurt exporter competitiveness.

“We saw many foreign players taking profit at 30 rubles per dollar,” Sergey Fishgoyt, deputy head of foreign exchange at Otkritie Financial Corp., said by phone from Moscow. “It’s a healthy correction.”

Bank Rossii spent 1.97 billion rubles ($65 million) buying foreign currency on Jan. 24, according to a statement on its website today. The regulator purchased about 15.3 billion rubles of currency at the start of the year to curb the ruble’s advance, central bank data show. Ruble futures for March settlement showed the ruble at 30.40 per dollar.

The ruble is still poised to appreciate as investor appetite for riskier assets improves amid signs of a global economic recovery, according to Fishgoyt and OAO Nomos Bank analyst Alexei Egorov.

“I’m betting on the ruble,” Egorov said by phone from Moscow. “Investors are slowly turning away from strong defensive strategies.”

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