Sberbank slump sows panic on Russian markets

14.03.2014 08:42

After a positive opening of the trade session on March 13, the Russian market tried to sustain its growth, but after reaching 1285 points it rolled back down to 1248 points hitting a 3-year low

The MICEX dropped by 2.01% and landed at 1248.56, while the RTS index dropped by 2.02% to 1077. 89 points. Trading volume on the Moscow International Stock Exchange totaled RUB 423.904 billion for the day [around US $11.6 billion].
Panic continued to dominate on the Russian market in the evening, with futures on the RTS declining by 2.58% to 104,350 basis points. Contracts on the MICEX sank 2.31% to 121,620 basis points.

The Brent crude oil came down on 0.5% to US $107.36 per barrel, which in turn put additional pressure on the oil and gas industry. As a result, futures for Gazprom shares decreased by 0.97%. Meanwhile, contracts for Sberbank slumped by a striking 2.73%.

Sberbank is Russia’s biggest bank, [the old soviet state savings bank and] a stronghold of the country’s financial system, so its decline scared many Russian traders, while its great weight on the indices makes traders sensitive to any decline in the bank’s capitalization. Certainly, profits on Sberbank shares led to pure panic as traders all scrambled to exit the highly illiquid market with minimal losses. As a consequence, the price for these shares fell to below RUB 70, losing one third of their peak value. The Sberbank sell-off is unlikely to stop over the next few days as a large volume of shares is being pitched.

Their decline has provoked margin-calls across the market, leading to a decline in value among other companies as well.

Translation: Anatoliy Shara, edited by Lidia Wolanski


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