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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Oil Price Pushes Ruble Weekly Low

The ruble slumped to its lowest level in almost a week against the dollar on lower oil prices and speculation that investor sentiment will worsen.

The ruble dropped as much as 1.1 percent to 33.83 per dollar, the weakest since March 19, and is down 13 percent this year. The price of New York crude dropped from a four-month high, falling 2.2 percent to $52.82 a barrel.

Oil snapped four days of gains Wednesday after reports deepened concern about a rebound in global energy demand, and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin cast doubts on the outlook for investor sentiment, saying any improvements in the markets were "temporary" and a correction will follow.

"Oil is down, which is a reflection of general market concern that the recent rally is over, that things really won't start to get better until the second quarter," said Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at UralSib Financial Corp. "Kudrin's comments just added fuel to the fire, so we're seeing a transition back into dollars and euros as a safe haven."

Crude retreated after Japan, the world's third-largest oil consumer, reduced oil imports by 14 percent in February from a year earlier, as its exports plunged a record 49 percent. U.S. crude stockpiles last week climbed by 4.58 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute said Tuesday.

The ruble weakened 0.2 percent to 33.54 per dollar on Wednesday.