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Ruble Bonds Decline on Bets Gains Overdone as Euroclear Arrives

Russian ruble bonds fell as investors speculated gains are overdone after Euroclear Bank SA announced it will start direct settlement of the so-called OFZ notes tomorrow. The ruble fell as oil, Russia’s main export, declined to a two-week low.

The yield on OFZ bonds maturing July 2022 rose one basis point to 6.77 percent by 7 p.m. after dropping as low as 6.65 percent. The ruble initially erased losses against the dollar on the Euroclear announcement before weakening 0.4 percent to 30.0800.

Euroclear, which operates the world’s biggest bond settlement system, will start direct settlement of Russian ruble-denominated government debt tomorrow, opening the $100 billion market to foreign investors. Over-the-counter transactions in OFZs will be followed by exchange-traded operations in March, it said. Crude oil declined 1.1 percent in New York to $95.59 per barrel.

“Some players were waiting for the decision in order to sell the fact,” Vladimir Kolychev, head of research at Societe Generale SA’s local subsidiary Rosbank, said by e-mail.

The ruble fell 0.2 percent to 34.8446 against Bank Rossii’s dollar-euro currency basket.

The Finance Ministry sold all 10 billion rubles of January 2028 OFZs as well as 13.6 billion rubles of the 20 billion rubles of 5-year bonds offered at an auction today.

“It’s clear that there is no immediate inflow” of foreign money into OFZ bonds, Alexander Kudrin, head of fixed income research at Sberbank CIB, said by phone. It’s “a matter of weeks” before growth resumes, he said.

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