Russian stock market hits historic high as oil prices rally

Russian stock market hits historic high as oil prices rally
The Moscow stock exchange (MOEX) index reached a new all-time high on Tuesday as global oil prices continue to climb. Russian stocks have also been surging since the US lifted sanctions against Russian aluminum giant Rusal.

The MOEX index hit two records in a row as trading opened this week. It rose to 2537.47 points on Monday and closed at 2523.52 points, a historic high for the end of the trading day. On Tuesday, the index continued to surge, hitting a record 2548.78 points as of 12:39 Moscow time (09:39am GMT).

MOEX is the main ruble-denominated index of the Russian stock market, comprised of the shares from more than 40 major Russian companies, including Sberbank, Gazprom, Rosneft, UC Rusal, Novatek and other blue chip firms.

The number of investors on the Moscow Exchange recently reached two million, with more than 700,000 people joining trading in 2018. Banks were most active in opening retail investment accounts last year.

Total trading volume across the Moscow Exchange markets increased by 1.5% to 58.9 trillion rubles (nearly $900 billion) in January 2019, compared to the same period last year.

The growth of the MOEX index was supported by rising oil prices. On Monday, global benchmarks West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude reached their highest price level since last November. On Tuesday morning, crude prices rolled back slightly, with Brent trading at $62.23 a barrel and US WTI crude standing at $54.41.

Russian markets were also boosted after Washington lifted its punitive measures against aluminum giant Rusal and two other companies linked to businessman Oleg Deripaska. The companies significantly diminished Deripaska’s ownership and severed his control. Now Rusal as well as its parent, En+ Group, may hope for inclusion in the global MSCI index.

“EN+ Group and United Company RUSAL are now eligible for potential inclusion in the MSCI Equity Indexes should they meet the necessary requirements as per the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes methodology,” the company said in a statement on Friday.

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