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Ruble Gains Most in More Than Two Months on Crude, Tax Payments

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- The ruble climbed the most in more than two months against the central bank’s target dollar-euro basket as oil rose and companies bought the local currency to make tax payments.

The ruble strengthened 0.3 percent against Bank Rossii’s basket to 34.9178 as of 12:16 p.m. in Moscow, the strongest advance on a closing basis since Jan. 8. The currency gained 0.3 percent versus the dollar to 30.88 and added 0.2 percent to 39.8750 versus the euro. Government ruble bonds due Feb. 2027 climbed, cutting the yield three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 7.47 percent, the lowest this week.

Crude oil, Russia’s main export earner, climbed as much as 0.7 percent to $108.24 a barrel in London. Russian companies will transfer about 200 billion rubles ($6.5 billion) of value-added tax to the state budget today according to HSBC Holdings Plc calculations, published in a note dated March 4. Russia’s Finance Minister is meeting his Cypriot counterpart for loan talks in Moscow today.

The Finance Ministry canceled a planned auction of 20 billion rubles of the 15-year bonds yesterday, citing “market conditions.” Instead the government will offer 6.22 billion rubles of bonds due in February 2019 at a yield of 6.53 percent to 6.58 percent, according to a statement yesterday.

Russian lenders and companies had about $31 billion placed in Cypriot banks or their own units at the end of 2012, according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service March 13. The remaining $29 billion in exposure comes in Russian bank loans to Cypriot companies of Russian origin, the ratings company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vladimir Kuznetsov in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at

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