The Moscow Stock Exchange is expected to resume trading on Thursday, March 24, 2022, but only for a select group of stocks for the first time in nearly a month.
In a press release, the Bank of Russia declared this negotiation would concern only 33 local stocks, including top companies like Gazprom and Sberbank. However, the release noted that there would be a ban on short selling for all 33 stocks.
The Moscow Stock Exchange index will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Moscow time, with opening hours for the following days to be announced later.
Trading on the exchange was halted in late February after the market went into turmoil following heightened Western sanctions over Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Government bonds start trading
The hint of the stock market reopening came after trading in OFZ government bonds resumed on Monday, where the bank resorted to buying OFZ papers to contain volatility.
It should be noted that the return to trading comes as the bank explored ways to clear a backlog of transactions to avoid a market meltdown. It is worth mentioning that local traders are likely preparing for a short sale despite the ban on short selling as international sanctions take shape, especially with the withdrawal of Russian banks from the SWIFT banking messaging system.
The Bank of Russia has banned brokers from selling securities held by foreigners on the Moscow Stock Exchange to protect the country’s economy and markets from heavy losses. At the same time, Russia plans to deploy up to $10 billion from its sovereign wealth fund to buy up troubled local stocks.
Market collapse weighs on the ruble
In addition to the sanctions weighing on the market, the country’s local currency, the ruble, has suffered considerably, falling to historic lows. As reported by Finbold, the risk of the ruble has reached half the value of the 1998 ruble crisis and expectations are expected to rise further.
Elsewhere, the stock market shutdown has partly contributed to some billionaires across the country losing some of their wealth. According to Finbold’s report, the ten richest people in Russia have accumulated at least $45 billion in losses in 2022 as a result of the Ukraine war.