MOSCOW Mar 12 Russian stock indexes fell
sharply again on Wednesday on the possibility that western
sanctions will be imposed on Russia over Crimea, while the
rouble was steady thanks to central bank support.
At 0730 GMT the rouble-denominated MICEX index was
down 1.7 percent at 1,287 points and the dollar-denominated RTS
index had fallen 1.9 percent to 1,111 points.
"Depressed sentiment dominates because of politics,"
Rossiysky Capital analyst Anastasia Sosnova said in a note.
"Investors are afraid of possible western sanctions that could
impact the economic sphere."
Analysts said the Russian market was also affected by
concerns that China's economy is slowing after poor export data
hit Asian markets.
Russia's foreign ministry said on Tuesday Moscow plans to
respect the results of a March 16 referendum that is expected to
back Crimea's reunification with Russia.
Western countries have called the referendum illegal and
plan to introduce visa bans and asset freezes on officials who
threaten Ukraine's territorial integrity.
They have also warned of unspecified further sanctions if
Russia fails to take steps to de-escalate the crisis.
"From the main events one should emphasise the declaration
of the European Union that sanctions against Russian could be
introduced as early as Monday," Investcafe analyst Mikhail
Kuzmin said in a note.
"This again emphasises that the main role will be played by
the referendum in Crimea. The introduction of sanctions will in
turn accelerate the outflow of investors from the market."
Despite the continuing falls in stocks the rouble was
steady, buttressed by central bank interventions as the rouble
traded near the edge of the corridor that the central bank is
committed to defend.
At 0730 GMT the rouble was stable against the dollar
at 36.50 and against the euro at 50.58
. It was up one kopeck at 42.83 against the
"It appears that the market is too exhausted to play against
the rouble as the (central bank) has committed to stay strong at
present levels," VTB Capital analysts commented in a note.
The rouble was trading beyond the edge of the floating
corridor announced by the central bank, 42.80 against the basket
as of March 11, where the bank is committed to unlimited
interventions to support the currency.
Market players said the central bank had probably already
moved the corridor by five kopecks to 35.85-42.85 on Wednesday
morning. Corridor shifts are announced a day after they occur.
Shifts in the corridor have now become less frequent after
the central bank raised the intervention threshold needed for a
shift from $350 million to $1.5 billion on March 3.
For rouble poll data see
For Russian equities guide see
For Russian treasury bonds see
Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s
(Reporting by Jason Bush and Vladimir Abramov; Editing by Sonya