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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MT Index Drops More Than 17% for Week

The Moscow Times Index of 50 leading shares closed down nearly 2.24 percent Friday, a gentle fall compared with the rest of the week, which saw equities driven down 17.78 percent since Monday.

Volume was reported at $29.84 million, and traders remained far from optimistic about the future.

"The fundamental result today may be that the fall has slowed, but the correction is continuing," said Sergei Kosynkin, head of the trading department at Bank Menatep.

Ordinary shares of electricity company Unified Energy Systems closed down 3 percent for the day at $0.1435, and 24.47 percent for the week. Oil major LUKoil fell 3.3 percent for the day to $8.90, but 21.24 percent for the week.

Traders said the market needed positive news, although the situation on the Russian domestic and external debt markets and on world markets generally seemed more likely to worsen.

Even as the Central Bank cut its benchmark refinancing rate to 60 percent from 80 percent, yields on treasury bills rose in the context of a general down trend in developing countries.

"We could have supported the paper, but there were no orders, and the way T-bills have been behaving, it makes sense to unload," Kosynkin said.

Russia's overseas debt has also taken a beating, with Eurobond spreads widening dramatically in the past two days as investors who exchanged ruble T-bills for dollar Eurobonds during a unique debt swap completed Monday began to off-load their new assets, traders said Friday.

Around midday, the two new Eurobonds issued as part of the debt swap were quoted at 1037 basis points and 1025 basis points, respectively, over U.S. Treasury notes.

Both bonds were priced at 940 basis points over Treasuries when they were exchanged for 27.5 billion rubles' ($4.4 billion) worth of short-dated GKOs, as Russian T-bills are known, on Monday.

Traders blamed falling prices on the hugely increased volume of Russian dollar debt available in the market.