Moscow Exchange to open bond market for non-residents from “friendly” countries

Moscow Exchange (MOEX.MM) will allow non-residents from designated “friendly” countries that have not imposed sanctions against Russia to trade bonds from Aug. 15, Russia’s largest bourse said on Wednesday.

Moscow Exchange said last week it would allow clients from “friendly” jurisdictions to start trading after an almost six-month hiatus but it later said this would apply only to the derivatives market, not the main stock market.

Analysts said the move was partly due to concerns that investors from the European Union, United States and Britain – which are currently banned from trading in Moscow – might be able to use the resumption of trading by “friendly” nations as a back door to offload any Russian stocks they still hold.

Apart from investors from “friendly” countries, non-residents whose final beneficiaries are Russian legal entities or persons will also get access to the bond market from next week, Moscow Exchange said on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the bourse said last week the number of “friendly” investors was unknown as they have yet to be registered first, but their admission should gradually increase market liquidity. There is no timeline for opening the door to investors from “unfriendly” countries, she said.

Both corporate and government bonds are traded on the exchange, which is Russia’s main bourse.