Russia has taken another step to ease restrictions that it adopted to protect its economy and financial markets from sanctions and other consequences of its invasion of Ukraine. Beginning Monday, investors from “countries that are not hostile” will be allowed to trade in Russia’s bond market, the Moscow Exchange said.
After the invasion began in late February, the value of Russian financial assets plummeted and then trading was halted on the Moscow Exchange. About a month later, limited trading in domestic bonds returned for investors in Russia, and slowly more trading was permitted. But now, amid a complex web of rules, trading in the bond market, which includes government and corporate debt, has been opened up to some foreigners.
Access to the Moscow Exchange for bond trading will be limited to nations that Russia considers friendly. Investors from “unfriendly nations” — a group that includes the United States, European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada, which are severing financial ties with Russia and have imposed sanctions since the invasion — still won’t be able to access trading in Moscow. Trading in Russian assets has been greatly restricted for these investors by their home nations, too.
Late last month, the U.S. Treasury authorized financial transactions that allow investors to wind down their holdings in Russian assets and auctions on a type of derivative that pays out in the event of a default. Some Wall Street banks are facilitating this trading in Russian debt, Reuters reported on Monday, having avoided the market because of the risks from sanctions.