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Volatility reigns as trade resumes in Moscow

STORY: Moscow’s Stock Exchange resumed trading after a month-long hiatus Thursday (March 24).The rouble also extended its recovery to hover close to 96 against the dollar, extending overnight gains driven by President Vladimir Putin’s statement that Russia would start demanding payment in the currency for gas sold to so-called “unfriendly” countries.On the stock market, volatility soared.A ban on trade with foreigners and a ban on short selling remain in place, artificially boosting equities.The government said at the start of March that it would channel up to $10.4 billion from its rainy-day National Wealth Fund to buy Russian stocks roiled by a massive sell-off last month.With most of European airspace closed to Russian planes, Aeroflot plunged around 20% at one point before cutting losses to 9%.And shares in Russia’s second-largest lender VTB – which is subject to Western sanctions – were down 2.4% on the day.But other stocks climbed. Gas producer Novatek rose more than a fifth. Energy giant Gazprom and oil majors Rosneft and Lukoil were also in the green, boosted by rising prices for crude.

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