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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ruble Loses Steam Against Greenback

The ruble slipped against the dollar on Tuesday as some banks were caught short of dollars after hefty hard currency sales to the Central Bank last week, traders said.

The currency fell 3.75 kopeks in official early trade to a weighted average for settlement today of 31.5875 to the dollar versus 31.55 on Friday when the Central Bank had to soak up almost 1 billion dollars to contain ruble strength.

"Over the past two sessions banks were selling hard currency expecting that during the three days off they would accumulate enough dollars from exporters to cover their short positions," Artyom Roshchin at Aljba Alliance said.

Banks and exporters, many of them oil and gas firms, rushed to sell some $1.5 billion in the second half of last week after the ruble hit fresh six-month highs against the dollar propelled by high global oil prices and rising investment.

That forced the Central Bank to mop up extra dollars to calm the market and curb the ruble's gains above 31.55. Dealers said the bank abstained from intervention on Tuesday.