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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Futures Exchange Celebrates Its First Birthday

The Moscow Financial and Futures Exchange celebrated its first birthday Thursday, after making heavy inroads into the futures market vacuum left when the Moscow Commodities Exchange collapsed.

"In the year of the exchange's existence, we've undoubtedly become the leader according to volume of trade," said Eduard Strugov, general director of the exchange.

He said volume of trade Thursday was about $20 million, higher than the daily level of the Moscow Commodities Exchange before it collapsed in March.

Reports have said the now-defunct exchange once accounted for as much as 70 percent of futures trading.

The Russian Exchange, which trades futures in dollars, short-term treasury bills and gold, has seen 13 trillion rubles ($2.5 billion) in turnover so far this year, equal to its total volume of trade in 1995, according to an official at the exchange.

The Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange could begin trading dollar, Deutsche mark and T-bill futures within a month, an official there said.

It was an uphill battle for the tiny Moscow Financial and Futures Exchange, which began trading on the eve of the August banking crisis, when overnight bank lending rates shot up to 1,000 percent.

"There were difficulties connected to the interbank crisis, with the ruble corridor, with two elections ... and of course now the whole market is shrinking," Strugov said. "We are already looking for a new form for our development."

Profitability of currency-futures speculation plummeted after a ruble corridor was introduced last July, keeping the currency in a tight band and reducing opportunities for betting on its fluctuation.

Strugov said the exchange is looking to the next stage in its development, in which it plans to strengthen ties with regional clients by developing a high-tech communications system to allow real-time trades in any instrument. With such a scheme in place the exchange could introduce stock trading, which so far is done over the counter thorough the Russian Trading System.