Russia’s $14.5 bn tax bill slows ruble’s crude slide


Russia’s ruble retreated for a second day on falling crude prices, while ING Groep NV said the drop would be steeper without demand from companies converting export revenue to pay a 1 trillion ruble ($14.5 billion) monthly tax bill.
The currency fell 0.3 percent against the dollar to 68.9410 by 11:32 a.m. in Moscow, extending Wednesday’s 1.8 percent decline — the sharpest slide in a month. Brent oil traded down 0.6 percent to $40.22 a barrel, pushing government bonds to their fourth day of losses.
The currency of the world’s largest energy exporter is headed for its first weekly retreat since mid-February as oil’s recovery falters. While the ruble follows crude’s fluctuations, tax payments due on Friday and Monday may help decouple the two assets, according to ING.
“Sales of exporters remain considerable, and this will support the ruble in coming days, muffling the impact of external conditions,” Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist for Russia at ING in Moscow, said by e-mail.
The correlation between Brent and the ruble declined for a sixth day to 0.74, the lowest since Jan. 20, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A level of 1 would mean the two are moving in lockstep.
Oil is set for the lowest level in a week as a supply glut persists. Energy Information Administration data showed inventories in the U.S. rose by more than three times what was projected in a Bloomberg survey, while imports last week increased to the highest since June 2013.
Russia’s 50-stock Micex Index fell 0.6 percent to 1,869.41, extending its decline to four days. Five-year government notes fell, pushing the yield eight basis points higher to 9.32 percent.

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