Ruble Gains to Month High as Russia Exporters Prepare for Taxes

The ruble appreciated to the highest level in more than a month as Russian exporters bought the local currency to cover tax payments due before the end of the year.

The ruble strengthened 0.1 percent to 38.0448 against the central bank’s target basket of dollars and euros by 6 p.m. in Moscow, extending yesterday’s 0.9 percent gain. That’s the highest level on a closing basis since Nov. 22. The yield on government bonds maturing in January 2028 increased one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 8.02 percent, snapping three days of declines.

Russian companies must pay about 300 billion rubles ($9.2 billion) in taxes on Dec. 25, according to Vladimir Miklashevsky, a strategist at Danske Bank A/S in Helsinki. The tax period will conclude on Dec. 30 with the payment of corporate income taxes.

Exporters preparing to pay mineral extraction taxes “triggered a covering of long hard currency positions by the local market players,” Maxim Korovin and Anton Nikitin, analysts at the investment arm of VTB Group, the nation’s second-largest lender, said in an e-mailed note.

Crude oil, Russia’s main earner, rose 0.2 percent to $111.78 per barrel in London. An index of the 20 most actively-traded emerging-market currencies against the dollar was little changed at 92.2343. The ruble increased less than 0.1 percent versus the dollar to 32.6470 and 0.2 percent against the euro to 44.6505.

“In the coming days, we think that the corporate sector will remain supportive for the ruble,” Korovin and Nikitin said.

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