MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Moscow Exchange aims to attract Asian investors with extended trading hours, while also betting on an increase in retail clients and corporate listings, an official at Russia’s largest bourse told Reuters in an interview.
The Moscow Exchange will start trading foreign currency, gold and derivatives three hours earlier from March 1, opening at 0400 GMT and extending its trading day to 17 hours to cover more time zones and boost liquidity.
“We aim at investors from Southeast Asia, primarily from India, Singapore, Hong Kong, where there is demand for rouble instruments,” said Igor Marich, MOEX’s managing director for sales and business development.
“We also count on an increase in trading volumes with the yuan amid growing trade (volumes) between our country and China and a global interest in this currency,” Marich said.
The bourse will limit the dispersion of market orders during thin early-hour trade to ensure market stability and avoid trading mistakes, Marich said.
When asked if the central bank, which carries out daily FX operations for the Russian budget, will also take part in early trade, Marich said morning trading was open for all participants.
The Moscow Exchange, in which the central bank owns a 17.8% stake, saw its business boom in 2020 when nearly five million people turned to trading amid coronavirus lockdowns and record-low interest rates.
Russia slashed rates to record lows in mid-2020 to make lending cheaper and help the economy recover from a crash in prices for oil, its key export, as well as from the broader impact of the pandemic.
More than 10 million people have accounts with the Moscow Exchange and around 600,000 brokerage accounts are being opened every month. If this trend continues, the exchange will have around 15 million retail clients by end-2021, Marich said.
The Moscow Exchange, which started trading foreign blue-chips in roubles in 2020, plans to increase the number of foreign stocks to over 200 this year, Marich said.
Foreign investors also play an important role on the Moscow Exchange, which offers an increasing number of instruments, including shares included in global stock indexes.
The Moscow Exchange saw 13 initial and secondary public offerings in 2020. It is in talks with around 10 companies on possible stocks listings, Marich said, without disclosing details.
(Writing by Andrey Ostroukh; editing by Jason Neely)