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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ruble Strengthens to 30.62

The ruble powered ahead against the dollar Wednesday after finance officials signaled they were ready to tolerate a faster pace of appreciation of the local currency, propelled by a strong balance of payments.

The Russian currency climbed 9.84 kopeks to a weighted average for settlement today of 30.6257 to the dollar from 30.7241 on Tuesday, after the Central Bank withdrew its dollar bid at 30.72, dealers said. It was the fourth time in two weeks that the Central Bank allowed a faster than usual nominal appreciation of the ruble, underscoring its monetary policy shift toward targeting inflation instead of the exchange rate.

Sergei Shchepilov at Raiffeisen Bank said many market players were betting that the ruble's rise was not over, despite a downward correction in afternoon trade, and speculators were actively building short dollar positions.

"It seems that only the lazy ones were not selling dollars," Shchepilov said.

Dealers said the Finance Ministry official's comments added fuel to the fire and encouraged those who choose to open short dollar positions.