MOSCOW, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Foreign investors increased their purchases of Russian state bonds in January by a net of 79.3 billion roubles ($1.40 billion), the highest monthly level since August last year, the central bank said on Thursday.
Foreigners snapped up Russian treasury bonds, known as OFZs, ahead of a U.S. report on the possible expansion of sanctions to target the holding of Russian state debt, market participants told Reuters in late January.
In a monthly report on the banking sector and financial markets, the central bank said foreigners also more active on the Russian stock market at the beginning of 2018.
“According to the bourse’s data, Russian subsidiaries of foreign banks and non-residents invested around 28.9 billion roubles in Russian shares and, de facto, were the only net buyers on the market,” the central bank said.
The rouble-traded benchmark MOEX index reached an all-time high of 2,324.48 on Jan. 25, up more than 10 percent since the beginning of the year. ($1 = 56.7465 roubles) (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Jack Stubbs)