Russian steelmakers rallied, helping push the country’s benchmark equity index to its biggest weekly gain in nine months as investors speculated infrastructure spending will boost earnings after the nation won its bid to host the 2018 World Cup. The ruble and government bonds climbed.
The 30-stock Micex Index closed 1.1 percent higher at 1,649.56 at 6:45 p.m. in Moscow, bringing its increase in the past five days to 5.3 percent, the biggest weekly advance since March 7. OAO Severstal, Russia’s largest steelmaker, jumped 3.2 percent, adding to yesterday’s 4.6 percent climb. OAO Novolipetsk Steel jumped 5.1 percent, while OAO Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel rose 3.8 percent.
The Micex extended gains yesterday, rising to the highest close in more than two years, after the World Cup bid victory was announced in Zurich.
The win may help Russia’s stock indexes outperform other emerging markets by as much as 10 percent in the next three months, analysts at VTB Capital, the investment banking arm of Russia’s second-biggest lender, wrote in an e-mailed report today. The Micex has climbed 20 percent this year compared with a 13 percent advance for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
The ruble jumped 0.6 percent to 31.29 versus the dollar, its strongest appreciation in more than two weeks. Official ruble trading closed before the results of the voting were announced yesterday. Government dollar bonds due 2020 climbed the most since June, pushing the yield down 18 basis points to 4.749 percent.
Steelmakers’ earnings may benefit as an “acute capacity shortage” in the run-up to the tournament pushes domestic steel prices to a “very significant” premium to export prices, VTB said. The cost of hosting the event will be about $20 billion, the bank said.
‘A Lot to Do’
Russia beat a challenge from England and joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands, and Portugal and Spain. The bid commits Russia to construction of 13 stadiums and renovation of three more at a projected cost of $3.8 billion, and an operating budget of $641 million for 2017-2018. Russia pledged to make “major upgrades and capacity increases” at most airports serving the 13 proposed host cities.
“We have a lot do to -- stadiums, airports, roads,” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said yesterday. “But this presents us with a challenge, and this is the advantage of our bid. It means the development of world football, but also the development of roads and transportation infrastructure for our country.”