A 'technical glitch' paralysed Russia's financial markets for 2 hours

Russia’s financial markets were paralysed for around two hours on Tuesday after a massive technical glitch hit the country’s main bourse — the Moscow Exchange PJSC.

At 3 p.m. Moscow time (MSK), the bourse officials were forced shut down trading in equities, bonds, currency, and derivatives trading.

A statement on the exchange’s website said it was “preparing to resume trading using backup systems” and that a technical failure was to blame.

At 16:50 MSK (14:50 UK time), main markets — equities, bonds, and the rouble — started trading again. Five minutes later foreign exchange and precious metals trading followed suit.

While this looks like a big deal from the outside, the market outage does not seem to be as big of an issue as Western investors may think.

“Had this been the first halt, that would have been tolerable, but this is not the first time a halt occurs this year,” said Yaroslav Podsevatkin, head of trading at Aton in Moscow, to Bloomberg. “These halts are turning into a statistic. I think many market players will start taking these risks seriously and considering the overall situation this could seriously decrease liquidity.”

The Moscow Exchange halted derivatives trading on August 12 and five months earlier it was forced to stop currency and precious metals trades for around an hour.

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