The stock market in Moscow opened again on Thursday after staying closed for a month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, crypto trading with Russian rubles (RUB) continues to see falling volume on the largest international exchange, Binance.
The opening of the Russian stock market today marked the first day of trading since February 25, the day after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, which led to a collapse in the price of shares trading on the Moscow Exchange.
As of 10:25 UTC on Thursday, the Moscow Exchange Russia Index was up 4.85% for the day (relative to its closing price on February 25).
Worth noting is also that during the time the stock market had been closed, the value of Russian rubles, which Russia’s stock market is denominated in, have depreciated some 14% against the US dollar. However, since March 7, RUB jumped 56% against USD.
Only 33 Russian companies opened for trading today. The list included major names such as oil and gas giant Gazprom, the major Russian bank Sberbank, and airline Aeroflot. In order to curb the selling of stocks, a number of highly unusual limitations and restrictions have been put in place, including a ban on shorting and a ban on trading by foreigners.
Crypto trader CoinMamba summarized the new rules on Twitter:
Meanwhile, there is also speculation that the Russian government may have intervened in the market by buying stocks in an effort to keep prices from collapsing. This follows comments from Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin who on March 1 said the country’s National Wealth Fund would purchase up to RUB 1 trillion worth of Russian shares by the end of the year.
However, there has so far been no confirmation by Russia’s government or central bank about any amount spent on this.
Out of the 33 companies trading live today, the biggest gains were seen among commodity producers, which largely benefit from selling their products at high prices abroad.
“Big rises among commodities giants who (for now) sell abroad in hard currency. Ban on trading with foreigners (half of all volume), ban on short selling & government buying USD 10bn of stocks all providing big support,” Jake Cordell, a reporter at The Moscow Times, commented on Twitter.
Crypto trading remains down
While the stock market was closed for Russian investors for a month, trading in cryptoassets remained available.
On Binance, the largest international exchange that offers trading in bitcoin (BTC) and tether (USDT) with the Russian rubles, volume in the BTC/RUB market is now down significantly since reaching a war-time peak of BTC 506 in 24 hours on March 7.
As of Wednesday this week, the 24-hour volume for BTC/RUB on Binance stood at BTC 47, well below a 20-day moving average of the volume of BTC 168.
A similar situation was also seen in the market for USDT/RUB, where the 24-hour trading volume on Wednesday stood at USDT 6.89m. The figure is down sharply from a war-time high from March 7 of USDT 37.19m, and about half of the 20-day moving average of USDT 12.06m.
BTC and USDT both traded at a small discount in Russian rubles on Binance, with BTC selling for USD 42,747 and USDT selling for USD 0.994. At the same time (10:25 UTC), BTC traded for USD 43,000 against USDT on Binance.
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