FILE PHOTO: An interior view shows the headquarters of Moscow Exchange in Moscow, Russia April 27, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

March 24, 2022

By Alun John

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong shares of Russian aluminium producer OK Rusal, one of the few Russia-related securities still being traded, slipped on Thursday ahead of a partial reopening of trading of stocks on the Moscow Exchange later in the day.

Russian stocks last traded on the Moscow Exchange on Feb. 25, after which the central bank curbed trading as Western sanctions over events in Ukraine threw markets into turmoil.

On its last day of trading, the rouble-based MOEX Russian index had gained 20%, after crashing 33% the previous day to its lowest since early 2016.

Most major U.S., European and Asian bourses have suspended trading of Russian stocks and exchange-traded products, following western sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one month ago, which Moscow calls a special operation.

Rusal’s shares traded between HK$4.04 and HK$4.17 on Thursday. Its trading volumes surged in early March, as the stock tumbled from a more than 10-year intraday peak of HK$9.2 a share on Feb. 17.

In Russia, trading in 33 rouble securities including state lenders Sberbank and VTB, energy majors Rosneft and Gazprom, will take place between 0650 and 1100 GMT Thursday, with short-selling banned, according to the central bank.

Non-Russian residents are banned from selling stocks and OFZ rouble treasury bonds. Trading of the latter restarted on Monday.

In offshore trading, amid very thin volumes, the rouble lost a little ground on Thursday, with the dollar climbing 1.55% to 98 roubles per dollar.

The Russian rouble traded onshore closed at 97.7375 per dollar on Wednesday, its strongest since March 2.

Fighting continued on the ground in Ukraine as U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in Brussels for meetings of NATO, the G7 grouping and the European Union.

(Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Uttaresh.V)

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