Russian Stocks Dive on Low Brent Oil Futures

Russian stocks plunged in Friday trading, reaching their lowest levels since December 2011 as quotes for Brent oil futures sank to three-month lows.

Russia’s ruble-denominated MICEX stock index had fallen 3.64 percent to 1,390.16 points by 6:21 p.m. Moscow time, while the dollar-denominated RTS sank 3.87 percent to 1,499.75.

Futures prices on U.S. WTI oil blend fell 2.54 percent on Friday trading to a level lower than $100 for the first time since February 2012. As of 5:40 p.m. Moscow time, prices on the WTI blend fell to $99.940.

The fall of the WTI futures was due to U.S. oil reserves reached maximum level in April for the past 21 years. Prices on Brent oil blend slipped 1.71 percent to $114.100. 

“The weakness of our market is confirmed by continuing outflow of investors’ funds from the country’s mutual investment funds which invest in stocks. The outflow reached 9.2 billion rubles from last September,” IT-invest chief analyst Alexander Potavin said.

“Market players were going crazy about share price growth a month and a half ago, but now they are in panic on this fall,” Potavin added.

International oil prices also reacted after OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said OPEC would be satisfied with oil prices around $100 per barrel, as higher oil prices might impair demand.

Prices at $100 per barrel are convenient for oil producers as well as for oil consumers, el-Badri added.

Traders also think Russian stocks might fall because of low trade activity on the eve of the long Victory Day weekend holidays in Russia from May 6-9.


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