18 Feb 2010 10:39

CB lowers support for currency basket 5 kopecks for first time since Nov

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) - The Central Bank of Russia has lowered its support level for the dual currency basket ($0.55 and EUR0.45) by five kopecks for the first time since November 2009.

The basket this morning fell below 35 rubles for the first time since December 2008, to 34.95 rubles.

The CB has been supporting the basket at 35-38 rubles since November. The basket hit the lower threshold of 35 rubles on Wednesday.

Market participants say the bank has reverted to its pre-November practice, buying $700 million in currency and then dropping the floating support corridor by 5 kopecks.

The dollar is approaching 30.1 rubles/$1 and the euro a 14-month low of 40.85 rubles/EUR 1.