June 16, 2020 / 2:21 PM / a month ago

Moscow Exchange to offer U.S. blue chip trading by the end-August

MOSCOW, June 16 (Reuters) - The Moscow Exchange said it will offer access to shares from the U.S. S&P 500 index in the coming months in a break-through for its long-awaited project, which was slowed by Western sanctions.

Russia's largest bourse, which had planned to offer trading access to around 50 U.S. companies in the third quarter of 2018, is now ready to offer up to 30 stocks by the end of August, its stock department director Boris Blokhin said on Tuesday.

It will add more later this year, bringing the overall number to 50, Blokhin said, adding that the stocks will be traded on the Moscow Exchange in Russian roubles, while dividends will be paid in U.S. dollars.

Russia's central bank, which has previously said access to foreign stocks would deprived the country of investment capital, supported the project this time, Igor Marich, managing director of money and derivatives market at the Moscow Exchange, said.

The Saint Petersburg Exchange, Moscow's closest rival, began trading U.S. stocks in the S&P 500 index in 2014.

The Moscow Exchange also said it will extend trading hours for its 25 most liquid stocks from June 22, a service likely to see demand from both retail clients and foreign investors. (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Elena Fabrichnaya; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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