Russian Stock Market Crashes on First Day of Trading After Oil Price Chaos

The ruble-denominated MOEX Russia index nosedived on Tuesday as trading opened on the Moscow Exchange for the first time after an oil price war waged by Saudi Arabia, the Moscow Times reports.

The MOEX index dropped by 10.4% to 2,436 points while the dollar-denominated RTS index fell by 16% to 1,056 points, the lowest levels since the winter of 2019.

Russia’s oil companies were hit hardest, with giants Rosneft and Lukoil leading the loserboard with falls of more than 10%.

The fall appeared softer than traders had been anticipating, however, as the MOEX Index of leading Russian shares came back slightly to stand down around 7.5% by mid-morning in Moscow, and emergency measures such as a complete halt to trading were not required.

The drop took the market to its lowest level in 10 months, wiping out gains which had seen Russia crowned one of the best performing stock markets of 2019.

The stock exchange crashed amid a record oil price drop following failed talks between Russia and Saudi Arabia on crude production cuts in Vienna. On March 9, the price of futures contracts of Brent crude oil for May 2020 delivery plunged by over 30% on London’s ICE, with the lowest level reached being $31.02 per barrel. On Tuesday, the oil price has narrowed losses adding 8.3% to $37.22 per barrel.

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