Russia Ruble Pares Weekly Gains as Oil’s Stumble Clouds Outlook

The ruble fell for the first time in three days, paring a weekly advance, as oil’s decline from near this year’s peak reduced appetite for assets of the world’s biggest energy exporter.

Russia’s currency retreated 0.5 percent to 65.184 against the dollar by 8 p.m. in Moscow, trimming its gain this week to 1.2 percent. Brent crude fell 0.7 percent to $47.74 a barrel, as Canadian producers held out from joining supply curbs from the U.S. to Nigeria that brought relief to a two-year selloff.

Oil has rebounded from lows this year, helping lift the ruble 20 percent in the past three months in the biggest gain among major world peers. Still, for an economy that depends on energy for almost 60 percent of exports, the currency’s gains can just as quickly unravel.

“The ruble remains a derivative of oil,” Vladimir Vedeneev, chief investment officer of Raiffeisen Asset Management in Moscow, said by e-mail. In the event oil prices are gripped by another selloff, “the ruble will suffer," he said.

Brent in rubles retreated 0.2 percent to 3,113 after reaching this year’s high of 3,120 on Thursday. This compares with the 3,165 average Urals price that Russia’s government has used to estimate its 2016 fiscal goals. Brent in rubles had slumped to 2,246 in January. Sales of oil and natural gas bring in about a third of Russia’s budget revenue.

“The current situation is definitely better for the budget than the one we saw a couple of months ago,” Vedeneev said.

The Micex index of stocks rose 0.3 percent, led by Phosagro OJSC. Europe’s largest phosphate fertilizer producer jumped 3.2 in Moscow and its global depositary receipts rose 1 percent in London. The GDRs were added to the MSCI Russia gauge with a 1.08 percent weighting, according to VTB Capital.

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