Ruble Gains for Second Day as Tax Demand Eclipses Lower Crude

  • Companies due to pay 1.3 trillion rubles by end of March
  • Ruble is the best-performer worldwide over the past month

Russia’s ruble climbed for a second day as local companies bought the currency to meet tax payments, negating the impact of weaker oil prices.

The currency of the world’s biggest energy exporter rose 0.3 percent to 68.34 per dollar by 6:17 p.m. in Moscow, leaving it little changed in the week. Russian government five-year bonds climbed for the first time in five days, lowering the yield three basis points to 9.3 percent. European and U.S. markets are closed for Easter holidays.

Russian companies are due to pay about 1.3 trillion rubles ($19 billion) through March 30, the biggest tax bill of the year, according to Sberbank CIB. While Brent oil had its first weekly loss in five, the rebound in the price of Russia’s main export earner since January has seen crude close above $40 per barrel in the past seven sessions.

“Oil has been trading at about $40 for the past few weeks and this means the ruble will likely remain in the corridor of about 67 to 69” against the dollar, said Alexei Egorov, an analyst at Moscow-based Promsvyazbank OJSC, which had the second-most accurate ruble forecast for 2015. “This month marks the biggest tax bill of the year, offering support for the ruble."

The Micex Index was little changed at 1,866.20. Market Vectors Russia ETF had $7.25 million outflows on March 24, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The ruble is the best-performing currency worldwide over the past month, climbing 10 percent.

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