Ruble Steady Amid Confusion

The ruble was little changed against its dollar-euro basket Tuesday as confusion over whether Russia was adhering to a truce by withdrawing its troops from Georgia deterred investors.

The managed currency was near a six-month low versus the dollar as NATO and France said Russia was not fulfilling a commitment to pull its forces out of Georgia. The ruble has weakened 3.7 percent against the dollar since Aug. 7, when Russia rebuffed a Georgian attempt to regain control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

"There's uncertainty on the ground whether they've withdrawn or haven't, it's just a mess,'' said Eugene Belin, managing director of fixed income, currencies and commodities for Citigroup in Moscow. "We're in wait-and-see mode."

The ruble was at 24.54 per dollar by 6:32 p.m. in Moscow, from 24.55 on Monday, and at 36.06 per euro, from 36.08. The Central Bank confines the ruble to a trading band against the basket to limit the impact of its fluctuations on the competitiveness of Russian exports.

Since mid-May, the Central Bank has allowed the ruble to trade more freely by widening its trading band as it prepares to float the currency by about 2011. The currency's link to the basket will be weakened over the next three years, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, citing a report by the bank to be submitted to the government on Aug. 21.