Ruble Falls 2nd Week In a Row

The ruble fell for the second week in three against its dollar-euro currency basket as oil plunged and stocks slumped on speculation that global financial turmoil will cut demand for riskier, emerging market assets.

The ruble dropped to a 20-month low in the week versus the dollar as crude fell below $70 a barrel, the average level required for Russia to balance its budget next year, according to the Finance Ministry. The MICEX Index of equities sank 14 percent in the past five days, its ninth consecutive weekly decline.

"This is going to be a long process for the ruble," said Gaelle Blanchard, an emerging markets currency strategist in London at Societe Generale. "As far as the stock market is concerned, I don't think we'll see a large recovery for a while."

The ruble, little changed Friday evening versus the basket, has fallen 0.6 percent since Oct. 10 to 30.404.

Against the dollar, the ruble was little changed at 26.31, down 0.4 percent from a week ago. On Thursday, it sank to the lowest level since February 2007. The ruble traded at 35.40 per euro, from 35.16 at last week's close, a 0.7 percent slide.

Capital outflows were $33 billion in August and September, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said.

The Central Bank sold $7 billion last week to support the ruble against the basket, according to estimates from MDM Bank. That compares with the $12 billion sold last week, the most since at least Jan. 1, MDM estimates showed.