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Romania Leu Best Emerging-Market Performer on Bond Index Entry

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Romania’s leu gained the most in two weeks, the best-performing emerging market currency, as the inclusion of the nation’s debt into JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s bond index spurred investors’ interest for the country’s assets.

The leu headed for a fourth monthly advance as some of Romania’s fixed-income securities are eligible for entry to JPMorgan’s and Barclays Plc’s emerging-market bond indexes from March 1 and from March 31. The euro strengthened for the first time in three days against the dollar as Italy reached its target in a bond sale.

“From March, the structural flow of real money into Romanian bonds will begin, which will mean better balance of payments support for currency appreciation,” Roderick Ngotho, a London-based strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, wrote in a note. “Long leu is a good idea for the medium term.”

The currency appreciated 0.3 percent to 4.3734 per euro by 4:50 p.m. in Bucharest today. The leu has advanced 1.8 percent this year, the second-best performance among emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa currencies tracked by Bloomberg, after Iceland’s Krona.

The euro gained 0.3 percent versus the dollar to 1.3085, after falling more than 1 percent yesterday on concerns Italy’s inconclusive parliamentary elections will worsen Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis. Economic confidence in the euro area increased more than economists forecast in February.

“Today we can see a slight rebound of the euro as the sentiment index in the Eurozone was slightly better than expected,” Bernd Berg, emerging-markets strategist at Credit Suisse AG in Zurich, said by e-mail. “As a result Eastern European currencies like the leu are recovering.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net; Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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