©Reuters. The Bank of Russia decides to keep the Stock Exchange closed until at least tomorrow
Moscow, Feb 28 (.).- The Central Bank of Russia decided today to keep the Stock Exchange closed until at least tomorrow, Tuesday, after the ruble plummeted almost 30% due to the sanctions of Western countries on several Russian banks and the exclusion of some of them from the SWIFT international interbank communication system.
“Due to the current situation, the Bank of Russia has decided not to open a stock market section, a derivatives market section or a derivatives market section on the Moscow Stock Exchange today,” it said in a statement.
The Russian monetary entity explained that it will announce the operating hours of the parquet this Wednesday around 09:00 local time (06:00 GMT).
The ruble plunged almost 30% on the Forex market today against the dollar and the euro shortly after 0600 GMT, a drop not seen since at least 1993 and 1994, respectively.
At 13:30 GMT, the ruble still lost 23.18% against the greenback, to 103.16 rubles per dollar, while it fell 22.67% against the euro, to 115.7 rubles per euro, also record highs.
Despite the volatility of the Russian currency and the measures taken by the Central Bank to stabilize the situation, apparently calm reigned in the Moscow banking entities visited by Efe, without long queues in front of the ATMs.
“I have come to get some cash because you never know,” a young Muscovite told Efe near one of the central offices of the largest Russian bank Sberbank (MCX:), one of those affected by Western sanctions.
Meanwhile, in a subsidiary of the VTB bank, another target of the restrictions imposed on Russia due to the war in Ukraine, even fewer customers could be seen than in Sberbank, especially in front of ATMs.
Where there was uncertainty was in a VBT branch where various embassies and foreign companies have their accounts and depend on international transfers.
The Bank of Russia has taken measures on Monday to guarantee the financial stability of the sanctioned banks, such as the release of accumulated capital reserves worth 733,000 million rubles (6,245 million euros or 6,963 million dollars) for consumer loans and mortgages.
It also raised interest from 9.5% to 20% and recommended that banks restructure debt rather than impose penalties or fines if borrowers’ financial condition deteriorated as a result of sanctions.
It also planned to resume the purchase of in the national market today, as announced on Sunday.
On the other hand, it decided to prohibit brokers from selling corporate or foreign securities.
The BCR took these measures after the US, the European Union (EU) and other partners sanctioned several banks in the face of the war launched by Russia in Ukraine and decided in a second step to exclude some Russian banks from the SWIFT international interbank communications system.
The EU also formalized last night the paralysis of transactions with the Central Bank of Russia, an unprecedented blow to the country’s economy in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The banks excluded from this interbank payment system will be among those that have already been previously sanctioned by the EU; that list includes Sberbank, Vneshtorgbank (VTB), Gazprombank, Russian Agricultural Bank and Vnecheconombank (VEB), Alfa (MX:) Bank and Bank Otkritie.
The precise list of sanctioned entities will be known this Monday.