Russia's SPB Exchange to resume full trading in foreign equities

Aug 8 (Reuters) - Russia’s SPB Exchange will restart full trading in hundreds of foreign equities on Wednesday, the bourse said, expanding access for Russians to buy and sell international shares.

Russia’s central bank moved in May to restrict trading in some foreign shares following sweeping sanctions that the West imposed after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Foreign investors have also not had access to the Russian stock market since Feb. 25 under countermeasures introduced by Moscow designed to prevent a sharp fall in stock prices.

The SPB, Russia’s second-largest bourse which specialises in foreign shares, has pushed back against the central bank’s calls for brokers to block retail investors from being able to access foreign shares.

From 10:00 a.m. Moscow-time (0700 GMT) on Aug. 10, investors will be able to trade shares of around 200 foreign companies, including in Apple and Tesla, popular stock choices among Russian retail investors, the exchange said in a statement.

Previously, trading was restricted to the afternoon session.

Trading in another 1,500 foreign shares will start later in the day, at 3.30 p.m.(1230 GMT), it added.

Russians held around $14 billion in U.S.-listed shares as of the end of March, Russia’s central bank said last week. It estimates that sanctions on Russia’s National Settlement Depository froze access to around 320 billion roubles ($5.3 billion) in foreign shares. (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)