Ruble's Three-Week Rally Has Sberbank Predicting Longer Advance

  • Russian currency gets boost from oil near $50, taxes
  • Micex stock index supported by Uralkali jump on buyback

The ruble strengthened in a third week of gains, heading toward a resistance level that Sberbank CIB said could be surpassed as crude prices stabilize and companies convert export earning to pay taxes.

Russia’s currency climbed 0.8 percent to 65.5670 per dollar by 4:32 p.m. in Moscow. That’s closing in on an “important multi-month” range of 65.30-65.50, Tom Levinson, chief currency and interest rates strategist at Sberbank CIB in Moscow, said in e-mailed comments.

"Although it is too soon to signal the all clear for the ruble, it is currently well supported by an oil price that looks more upwardly mobile and the regular end of the monthly tax period," Levinson said. If oil gets “traction” above $50 a barrel, the ruble can keep its gains even without the support from tax payments, he said.

The ruble has recovered 8.1 percent from a record-low close a month ago as crude prices rebounded and the Federal Reserve kept rates on hold near zero. Companies were due pay as much as 625 billion rubles ($9.5 billion) in taxes on Friday, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Five-year government bonds headed for a fifth week of gains, lowering the yield three basis points on Friday to 11.45 percent.

The benchmark Micex stock index advanced for the first time in seven days, adding 1.3 percent to 1,643.15. Uralkali PJSC surged 2.5 percent after the nation’s biggest potash producer said it’s extending a share buyback program by 71 percent to $2.26 billion.

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