The Russians bought up 400 billion rubles worth of currencies, their actions are becoming more and more significant for the market

How private investors behaved in the II quarter, told The Central Bank in the “Overview of Financial Market Risks”. Their role in the market after the departure of non-residents has greatly increased, the regulator points out: now the share of private investors in the turnover of trading in shares is 74%, bonds – 25%, on the spot currency market – 10.6%, on the derivatives market – 72%.

Chinese Syndrome

The main thing for them was the foreign exchange market: in three months, the population bought foreign currency for 400 billion rubles. This is a lot: in the previous three years, individuals also bought foreign currency, but less – 50 billion, 200 billion and 300 billion rubles. And this time, there were practically no seasonal purchases of currency for foreign holidays on the May holidays or on summer holidays.

The Central Bank has previously noted countercyclical behavior of private investors: people now buy more currency when it gets cheaper, and, conversely, sell when it gets more expensive. So, literally on the eve of the start of the “special operation”, on February 23, they switched from net purchases to net sales. But since April, the ruble began to steadily strengthen, and the Russians sought to take advantage of this. This is indirectly confirmed by the fact that from April to June, purchases of foreign currency increased in the second half of the month, at which time the ruble strengthened more strongly.

Important innovation: in June, private investors began to actively trade the yuan (mostly buy). The share of the Chinese currency in the turnover of the foreign exchange market is growing: in June it accounted for 11% of the turnover of the exchange market (in April – 6%, in February – less than 1%) and 8% – over-the-counter (in April – 4%, in February – 1% ). This, of course, is the work of exporters who have increased the share of the yuan in revenue, but the Russians are in the trend. If earlier they practically did not work with this currency, then in June the share of individuals in purchases of the yuan was 13.9%, in sales – 5.5%. They transform the structure of savings in favor of the currencies of friendly countries, explains the Central Bank. In a month, they closed deals worth 5.4 billion yuan ($760 million). Thus, the net purchase is 2.3 billion yuan ($330 million).

The mice cried, pricked …

On the stock market, retail investors mostly take a wait-and-see attitude: in three months they have purchased Russian securities worth 21 billion rubles. During this time, the Moscow Exchange Index fell by 18.4%.

As an example of such a buyout of drawdowns, the Central Bank cites trading on June 30, when Gazprom announced that it would not pay dividends for 2021 (and they should have been a record in the history of the company and the entire Russian market!). The company’s shares fell 30%. But “despite the volatility of prices during the auction and taking into account the multidirectional nature of the transactions, individuals increased the volume of investments by 0.1 billion rubles per day,” writes the Central Bank.

Perhaps this is a rational action, despite the state-owned company’s outrageous behavior towards investors. The fall was much larger than a simple “dividend gap”, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov (1.2 trillion rubles instead of dividends will receive the budget in the form of a one-time withdrawal of the MET) hints that this will not happen again: “Temporary refusal of dividends does not mean that this practice will be continued in the coming years.

Zero draw

In addition, in May, private investors increased investments in foreign shares by 39 billion rubles. But this, according to the Central Bank, is most likely due to the transfer of securities to the Russian accounting infrastructure. In May-June, small sales by citizens of foreign securities on the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange continued.

But the result of operations of the population with OFZ and corporate bonds for three months turned out to be almost zero.


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