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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ruble Firms on CB Support

Central Bank support for the ruble helped it firm against the dollar Wednesday after falling to historic lows earlier this week.

The ruble's average rate in the key morning unified trading session firmed to 29.9010 per dollar from 29.9137 previously. Trade Wednesday was $79.30 million, and deals ranged between 29.8821 to 29.9248 rubles per dollar.

Based as usual on the results of the morning trade, the Central Bank hiked its official next-day rate to 29.90 rubles per dollar from the previous 29.91. The currency has hit a series of lows in recent days.

"[Banks'] balances [at the Central Bank] are sharply down today. There is a shortage of rubles as the Central Bank sold about $100 million to banks," said Alfa Bank dealer Alexei Bukleyev.

"On top of that, banks have sent rubles to Central Bank deposits because of low credit rates [on the market]."

Banks' balances on their correspondent accounts at the Central Bank, the main indicator of the market's liquidity, fell to 67.42 billion rubles Wednesday from 77.97 billion rubles Tuesday.

Overnight ruble lending rates stand at a low 2 percent to 7 percent.

Dealers said the ruble had fallen to 29.95 a dollar before the Central Bank intervened to stop the slide. They declined to estimate the size of the intervention, which was still going on.