Russian Stocks Gain, Ruble Steadies Despite Further Sanctions Planned From West

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Russian stocks largely shrugged off threats of further sanctions from the West on March 6, making gains after previously sliding earlier in the day amid threats of further sanctions from the West, while the Ruble stabilized.

The dollar-denominated RTS index fell to 979.34 points before reducing losses and adding 0.4 percent on the day to 1,008.9 points by 07.49 am (GMT).

Its ruble-denominated MOEX Russian index also gained 0.4 percent to 2,674.1, although that figure is still significantly far off from an all-time high of 4,292.68 it reached in October.

Shares in Russia’s second-largest oil company, Lukoil, also jumped 3.5 percent higher, outperforming the broader market. The oil giant is the first major Russian firm to speak out against Putin’s decision to invade its neighbor.

Its peer Gazprom Neft,  the third-largest oil producer in Russia, added 2.5 percent.

However, state-owned bank Sberbank lost 2.2 percent, while sanctioned Russian lender VTB lost 3.4 percent, a day after it made coupon payments in rubles on its two bonds denominated in foreign currencies.

Meanwhile, the Russian ruble didn’t experience any noticeable change on the day at 83.42 to the dollar. It gained 1.1 percent to trade at 90.52 versus the euro, reaching levels seen prior to the Moscow-led invasion of Ukraine.

As of 10:56 am (GMT) the Ruble is trading at 83.35 to the greenback and 93.23 to the euro.

The stock gains came despite the threat of new sanctions from the European Union in response to allegations of Russian forces committing war crimes in Ukraine.

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said the proposed sanctions on Moscow would include banning Russian imports worth nearly $10 billion and exports to Russia worth nearly $11 billion, including semiconductors and computers.

They would also include an import ban on coal from Russia worth $4.4 billion and a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks, including VTB, as well as a ban on Russian ships entering E.U. ports.

The fifth round of sanctions would also include a ban on Russian and Belarusian road transport operators. Belarus has been an ally to Moscow in the conflict, allowing its territory to be used as a staging ground for attacks into Ukraine.

The sanctions will need to be approved by lawmakers in E.U. member states.

“We all saw the gruesome pictures from Bucha and other areas from which Russian troops have recently left. These atrocities cannot and will not be left unanswered,” she said in a statement on Twitter.

“The four packages of sanctions have hit hard and limited the Kremlin’s political and economic options. In view of events, we need to increase our pressure further.”

The United States is also planning more sanctions on the Kremlin, with President Joe Biden again referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal in response to new images of violence and mass killings of civilians by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Bucha himself to see what he called a “genocide”  and “war crimes,” while calling on Russia to move quickly to reach an agreement in negotiations to end the war.

“Dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured,” said Zelenskyy.

Russian officials have denied killing civilians in Bucha while the Kremlin has said the scenes recorded in Bucha are staged, branding it “another staged performance by the Kyiv regime for the Western media.”

Tom Ozimek and Reuters contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.





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