Moscow Exchange Jumps as Bank of Russia Pledges to Retain Stake

OAO Moscow Exchange jumped to the highest level in a month after Bank of Russia said it will hold onto its stake in the nation’s main bourse after relations with the U.S. and Europe deteriorated.

Moscow Exchange shares surged 5 percent to 73.75 rubles by 11:32 a.m. in Moscow, the biggest gain on the benchmark Micex Index and the highest level since March 4. Bank of Russia was due to sell its 11.7 percent stake in the bourse as well as its holding in ZAO St. Petersburg Currency Exchange by Jan. 1, 2016.

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year pushed ties with the U.S. and Europe to a Cold-War low and triggered sanctions that, combined with tumbling oil prices, set the nation on a path toward recession. The “geopolitical situation” means Bank of Russia must keep “comprehensive control” over the nation’s market infrastructure, according to a website statement from the central bank on Thursday.

The original plan to exit the Moscow Exchange by 2016 was made “a long time ago,” Central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina told a conference in Moscow Thursday.

The central bank sold half of its stake in the Moscow Exchange in July 2014, raising 16.04 billion rubles ($289 million).

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