May 20, 2022
Moscow Stock Exchange

Russia’s central bank has announced the resumption of some trading on the Moscow Exchange with the equity market opening again tomorrow, following the country’s longest ever trading halt since Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine on February 24th.

The Bank Of Russia said in a statement that trading of federal loan bonds would resume on Monday, with bidding held in the discrete auction mode from 10am to 11am Moscow time and then in the usual mode from 1pm to 5pm.

“We are now ready to gradually resume trading on the Moscow Exchange. On Monday, trading will open for government bonds,” said Elvira Nabiullina, head of the bank.

The country had previously kept its stock market closed for three weeks as crippling financial sanctions wreaked havoc on the Russian economy and led to fears of a massive sell-off pushing it into a death spiral.

Russia had also faced the threat of sovereign default, but averted this with a $117 million interest payment to foreign bondholders on Wednesday. It would have been the first Russian foreign debt default since the Bolshevik Party refused to pay the debts of Czar Nicholas II in 1918.

The Moscow Times reported that the central bank will buy government bonds when trading resumes, in order to “limit the risks to financial stability”. It was not reported how much would be spent, and in a separate statement the bank said that purchases will be made during the time it takes to complete the adjustment of the prices of financial instruments to the new conditions”.

The bank has said it will provide an update soon on when trading in other instruments can be expected to resume.