The Russian stock ETF falls 30% as the crisis in Ukraine continues

Traders on the NYSE floor, February 25, 2022.

Source: New York SE

The VanEck Russia ETF fell 30.6% on Monday as the conflict in Ukraine prompted new US sanctions against Russia.

On Monday, the Biden administration announced additional sanctions against Russia’s central bank that would effectively ban Americans from doing business with the bank and freeze assets inside the US

The RSX Fund is designed to reflect the MVIS Russia Index, which comprises the largest and most liquid companies in Russia. It also includes non-local companies established outside of Russia that generate at least 50% of their sales in Russia.

The RSX ended its worst day since inception in April 2007. It also ended its worst month since inception, down 54.9% for the month.

The sharp drop follows two bumpy trading sessions in which the fund’s shares struggled to recover from another large drop on Thursday, the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The broader US stock market was also lower on Monday. While Russian ETFs continue to trade in the US, the Moscow stock market remains closed and is yet to announce its opening times on Tuesday.

Ukrainian forces have continued to hold back Russian troops and maintain control of key cities. Officials from Russia and Ukraine gathered at the Belarusian border on Monday to discuss a possible end to fighting between the two sides.

This follows a move over the weekend by the European Union, UK, US and Canada, all of which pledged to remove select Russian banks from SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The payment system connects more than 11,000 banks and financial institutions worldwide, which means removing Russian banks from SWIFT would disconnect them from most of the global financial system.

At the same time, the Russian central bank raised its key interest rate from 9.5% to 20% to support the falling rouble. It also said it would release 733 billion rubles, or $8.78 billion, in local bank reserves to boost liquidity.

The ruble had fallen about 30% against the dollar after President Joe Biden announced new rounds of sanctions against Russian banks and their sovereign debt, as well as against President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Most recently, it had fallen by more than 15%. The Russian stock ETF falls 30% as the crisis in Ukraine continues

Gary B. Graves

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