MOSCOW Aug 9 Sanctions-hit Sberbank
and VTB bank, Russia's largest lenders, will be kept
in the MSCI Russia Index, index compiler MSCI
said late on Friday.
MSCI said the decision was made following consultation with
the investment community regarding the treatment of Sberbank and
VTB in the context of the U.S. and European economic sanctions
imposed against Russia over its policy in Ukraine.
Brussels has banned all EU nationals and companies from
buying or selling new bonds, equity or other financial
instruments with a maturity of more than 90 days issued by
Sberbank, VTB and three other major state-owned Russian banks or
those acting on their behalf.
The possible exclusion of Sberbank's shares from the index
has added to nervousness in the Russian stock market.
MSCI indexes are used by many investment funds to determine
their weightings so exclusion from the Russia index could have
significantly reduced demand for the banks' shares.
MSCI said it decided to maintain both banks in the index
"until further notice, as the issues potentially resulting from
the commingling of existing and new equity are not perceived as
an immediate concern by most consulted market participants".
Both Sberbank and VTB Bank have officially announced that
they do not intend to issue new shares in the near future, MSCI
(Reporting by Zlata Garasyuta; Writing by Polina Devitt;
Editing by Jason Bush and Alison Williams)