Russian Market ‘Stardom’

PHOTO by Yuriy Somov / Depositphotos
Citi called the Russian stock market’s growth in 2016 promising, and the possibility of a US presidential administration friendlier to Russia may cause further growth

The Russian stock market has grown by 48% since the beginning of the year and by 20% since the US presidential election on Nov. 8. In comparison, emerging markets as a whole added only 10% since the beginning of the year and dropped by 2.5% after Trump’s victory, according to Citi.

Since the beginning of trading in 2016, the RTS index rose by 50.7%, from 755.16 points on Jan. 4 to 1,138.07 points on Dec. 15. The MICEX index increased by 27% over the same period, from 1,761.42 to 2,237.23 points.

The Russian stock market has shown the second best growth this year. Brazil, which had the most growth, added about 52% from Jan. 1 but lost about 12% after the US presidential election. Saudi Arabia’s market has gained about 14% since the beginning of the year.

Citi analysts have called the dynamics of the Russian stock market “starry” and raised the share-value projections for some large Russian companies. In particular, in the coming year Gazprom shares have shown a 46% growth potential, or $3.71 per share from the current $2.53. Rosneft could increase by 20% from $6.49 per share to $7.80. Sberbank could also grow by 3.6%.

Citi also noted the likelihood of an easing of anti-Russian sanctions. US President-elect Donald Trump has nominated the head of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, who is well known for his close ties to Russia, to the post of the Secretary of State. The President-elect repeatedly called for better relations with Moscow during his election campaign.

Shares Rise in Tandem with Rouble

In addition to the growth of stock indices, Brazil and Russia have made headlines this year after a significant boost to national currencies against the dollar. According to Bloomberg, the Brazilian real and the Russian rouble have been the most successful currencies in 2016.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 16 the rouble appreciated against the dollar by almost 18.6%, or $0.0162, while the Brazilian real gained 17.55%, or $0.2979.

The only faster-growing currency was the crypto-currency Bitcoin, which surged by 79% to $778 due to the global tightening of capital controls and restrictions on the use of cash in countries like India and Venezuela.