Russian markets ended Friday’s trading only slightly below the previous day’s close as jitters caused by a slump in the West fizzled out and the authorities and experts claimed there was no reason for panic.
The Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange was almost flat by 17:30 Moscow time, down just 0.74 percent to 1,608.72 after a four percent fall at the opening of trade. The RTS index fell 1.64 percent to 1,825.33.
International stock markets fell to their lowest since late 2010 on Thursday and extended losses on Friday. More serious falls are feared should governments fail to stabilize the eurozone’s debt crisis soon and prevent the U.S. economy from sliding back into recession.
“Markets fell because of the publication of poor U.S. statistics, which show a slowdown in American economic growth. However, the fall is not critical. Nothing criminal has happened,” a Russian Finance Ministry official, who requested anonymity, told RIA Novosti.
Prices for oil, Russia’s key export, started to recover on Friday after they sank to a five-month low on Thursday amid perceived signs of slower economic recovery in the U.S. But September Brent futures recovered 0.73 percent to $108 per barrel.
Investcafe analyst Anna Bodrova said that $40 million had quit Russian equities in the week ending August 3 compared to $13 million a week earlier.
“There are reasons to believe that the weekly outflow of capital from funds will continue until the first days of September due to instability abroad after which local issues will again become interesting for international investors,” she said.
Finam analyst Yuliya Afanasyeva said market fears were groundless.
“People do not realize that when Western experts say the word ‘recession’ they do not mean the end of the world, like they did in 2008, but only hint at a possible further decrease of quarterly GDP,” she said.