On Thursday, Russia’s stock market partially reopened. It had been closed from the end of last month after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The market rose by about 12 percent before it settled with gains of approximately 4.4 percent before closing at 2 p.m., local time. Only 33 stocks were traded and the market stayed open for four hours.
February 25 was the last time the market saw trading activity. The MOEX Russian Index has lost about 35 percent of its value while the RTS Index, whose denomination is in dollars fell more drastically by 42 percent this year. As the U.S. and its allies imposed punishing economic sanctions on Russia, the rouble plunged further this year.
The MOEX Russian Index normally trades 50 stocks but only 33 were traded, on Thursday. The market also closed early though energy giants Lukoil and Gazprom saw gains by market close. However, Aeroflot fell by 16.4 percent while Inter RAO fell by 7 percent. Other stocks that were traded from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Moscow time included Sherbank, Rosneft and VTB Bank.
There were a few restrictions seen in the shortened trading session. They included the banning of short selling. Local investors could trade quite freely but foreign investors were not allowed to exit the market.
Trade at the bourse was enabled through both US dollars as well as roubles. However, foreign investors cannot sell shares till the end of the month. Even when they can resume sales on April 1, the money will have to remain in Russia.
The Biden administration said that the reopening of the Russian market was a “charade.” President Biden is meeting with NATO leaders as well EU leaders in Brussels, on Thursday. He also has a meeting later today with the Group of Seven (G7). The leaders are expected to impose further sanctions to isolate Putin and Russia from the global economy,