The biggest exchange-traded fund tracking Russian stocks fell for a second day in New York amid concern that a recovery in oil prices is faltering, weighing on growth in the world’s largest energy exporter and halting a rally in the country’s assets.
The Market Vectors Russia ETF slid 1.7 percent to $17.73 on Monday. Energy companies, which make up about 40 percent of the fund, tumbled as Brent crude extended losses in the wake of a third weekly retreat. A Bloomberg index of the most-traded Russian stocks on U.S. exchanges declined for a fourth day in five. Oil’s rebound from a six-year low has lost momentum amid speculation a global glut will be prolonged as U.S. drillers return rigs to fields and Iran seeks to regain market share.
While U.S. and European sanctions had already been squeezing Russia’s $2 trillion economy, the outlook worsened as oil, the country’s top export, fell to about three-fifths of its five-year average price and a recovery in the ruble wavers. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimate that Russia’s gross domestic product will contract through the first quarter of 2016.
“For a country that is so heavily dependent on energy exports, a slump in commodity prices leads the entire market down,” Anastasia Levashova, who helps manage about $350 million at Blackfriars Asset Management Ltd. in London, said by phone on Monday. “As there are no drivers for the oil rally in sight, there are no drivers for Russia’s market to advance either.”
Brent, the oil grade traders use to price Russia’s main export blend, settlement declined 1 percent to $56.51 a barrel in London, widening its slump from last year’s high in June to 51 percent. The ruble, which lost 0.1 percent to 56.9779 per dollar, is still down 42 percent from where it was in January 2014.
The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index fell 0.8 percent on Monday, narrowing its advance this year to 9.4 percent. OAO Mobile TeleSystems, the country’s largest wireless carrier, fell 2.3 percent to $8.12, contributing most to the decline in the gauge of 18 stocks.