- MOEX seen at 4,100 by mid-2022, at 4,350 by end-2022
- RTS seen reaching 1,800 by mid-2022 and 1,900 by end-2022
MOSCOW, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Russia's stock market will recover in 2022 from the November sell-off driven by fears of more sanctions and COVID-19 concerns but expected stimulus withdrawal in the United States could cap gains, a Reuters poll of 12 market experts showed.
Russian stocks have repeatedly hit all-time highs in 2021 with the help of a surging number of retail investors amid the recovery in oil prices and the economy.
The MOEX reached a record peak of 4,292.68 on Oct. 14, up more than 30% year-to-date, before falling sharply in November on concerns related to Russia's military build-up on the border with Ukraine and the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
"Some downside correction on the local market is likely in the next six months on the back of potential global risk-off due to either the COVID situation worsening or the U.S. Fed's tapering," said Kirill Tachennikov, head of research at Sinara Investment Bank.
The MOEX rouble-denominated index was expected to reach 4,100 by mid-2022, up about 5.7% from Monday's close of 3,879.54, according to the Nov. 15-30 Reuters poll.
Erik DePoy, equity strategist at Gazprombank, said the market was poised to recover in the next six months from the current downturn.
"But it is unclear whether it will surpass 2021 highs due to a host of reasons, including QE tapering, central bank rate hikes and reduced global demand for hydrocarbons," he said.
By the end of 2022, the MOEX was expected to reach 4,350, with forecasts ranging between 3,595 and 4,900.
Russia's high dividend yields have proved an attractive proposition for people amid COVID-19 lockdowns that have kept them at home, and the number of amateur market players has increased, exceeding 13 million people.
While the consensus envisaged further market gains, experts voiced concerns about a possible pullback of monetary stimulus by the United States which had been buoying the global stock market amid the pandemic.
The dollar-based RTS index was forecast to trade at 1,800 points by the middle of next year, up about 9.8% from Monday's close of 1,638.72.
The RTS was seen climbing to 1,900 by end-2022, a level last seen in October, with forecasts ranging from 1,518 to 2,100.
"The main risk for the Russian stock market remains the danger of harsher sanctions and a serious deterioration of external political background," said Vitaly Manzhos, senior risk manager at Algo Capital.
Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; additional polling by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Jonathan Cable and Ed Osmond