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IMF Warns on Russia?€™s Ruble Course

Russia’s steps to fight a stronger ruble may “not be productive,” the International Monetary Fund said Thursday, commenting on policy less than a month after the Central Bank said it will use interest rates to cap ruble gains.

“There are changes in the underlying factors that call for a more appreciated exchange rate,” said Odd Per Brekk, the IMF’s senior representative in Russia.

The Central Bank is trying to curb gains in the ruble as investors tap into higher relative returns offered by a 9.5 percent benchmark interest rate and rising commodities prices.

Efforts to curb currency appreciation linked to high rates are “appropriate,” Brekk said, distinguishing between ruble gains based on higher commodities prices and return-driven speculation.

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