The RTS Index closed above 600 for the first time since 22 October, just before Khodorkovsky was arrested. Despite some late-in-the-day profit-taking, the market was up 1.61% and the RTS finished at 603.74. Total volume in the market was relatively high at $884 mn, as was MICEX volume at $449 mn. LUKoil saw a lot of activity, with turnover of $73 mn in MICEX, and was up 2.1% to close at $24.934. The biggest movement yesterday was seen in Severstal, up 5.9% to $151.5, on the back of strong steel prices. Recent reports from iron ore producers are pointing to a 19% increase in contract prices in April ? the highest rise since 1980.
Russian external debt was mostly flat again yesterday, while US Treasuries were lower. The EMBI+ Russia Index lost 0.1% with its spread tightening by 5 bp to 237. Domestic debt was lower ahead of today's OFZ auctions. Today MinFin is to auction Rb 18 bn worth of long-term OFZ issues and will pay around Rb 12 bn in principal and coupon payments.