Moscow Exchange to allow negative derivative prices after lawsuit

MOSCOW, June 30 (Reuters) - The Moscow Exchange, facing a lawsuit from private investors who suffered losses when oil futures turned negative in April, will allow for negative prices on some derivative instruments from July 6, the bourse said on Tuesday.

The exchange said the new version of its futures market trading and clearing system would include support for negative prices, fulfilling a promise it made after its decision to halt trading on April 20 left some investors unable to close open positions as prices dived.

Market players lost almost 1 billion roubles ($14.1 million) when the Moscow Exchange suspended trading of April futures on Light Sweet Crude Oil blend, which are pegged to U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, when WTI slid below zero for the first time ever on April 20.

The negative price support functionality will initially be available for Light Sweet Crude Oil and natural gas futures, but the list of instruments will be expanded, the exchange said.

$1 = 70.9013 roubles Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Louise Heavens