The leu rose as much as 1 percent today, the most since Dec. 24, to 3.6574, and was trading at 3.6767 by 12:30 p.m. in Bucharest, from 3.6939 late yesterday. It fell to 3.7235 on Jan. 14, the lowest level since February 2005.
The Bucharest-based central bank declined to comment on whether it bought the leu in the foreign-exchange markets today.
Policy makers lifted Romania's benchmark interest rate half a percentage point Jan. 7, raising it to the highest in the European Union, to curb inflation after prices rose an annual 6.6 percent in December.
The leu has so far fallen 3 percent against the euro this year, making it the second worst-performing emerging-market currency.
Perhaps the most ominous quote in the press today is this one, since it indicates that central bank policy may now become increasingly driven by the need to stem a collapse in the currency, rather than by a need to regulate internal demand conditions. If confirmed, this tendency would not be a positive one.
``Our rough calculations suggest that the main rate should be above 9 percent to fend-off the pressure on the leu,'' said Ilker Domac, an economist at Citigroup Inc. in Istanbul, adding that he expected another 50 basis-point increase in February.