Ruble Headed for 4th Weekly Gain, Seen Testing Bank Rossii Band

The ruble headed for its fourth weekly gain as oil rallied and U.S. jobs data encouraged investors to seek higher-yielding assets.

The ruble added 0.3 percent to 29.9500 against the dollar by 7 p.m. in Moscow, and climbed by the same in the week to the highest level since May 5 on a closing basis. The ruble rose 0.2 percent to 34.8042 against the central bank’s target dollar-euro basket, 15 kopeks weaker than the level at which traders say the regulator may intervene to curb gains.

Crude oil, Russia’s main export, gained 0.8 percent in London trading to $116.32 per barrel. Hiring in the U.S. increased in January after accelerating more than previously estimated at the end 2012, according to data today. The Federal Reserve said this week it will keep buying bonds to spur economic growth and reduce unemployment.

“External factors are supportive,” Igor Akinshin, foreign currency trader at Alfa Bank, said by phone.

The ruble may strengthen as much as 0.7 percent to 29.75 per dollar and by 0.4 percent to 34.65 to the basket at the start of next week, Peter Neimyshev, head of foreign exchange at Otkritie Bank, said by e-mail. “We don’t expect a stronger appreciation,” he said.

Bank Rossii bought 4.62 billion rubles ($154 million) of foreign currency on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25 to curb the ruble’s appreciation, data on the regulator’s website show.

“If the central bank and the government don’t want a stronger ruble, it won’t get stronger,” Akinshin said.

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