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Russians lose access to over $3 bln on stock exchange due to U.S. sactions

Russians lose access to over $3 bln on stock exchange due to U.S. sactions U.S. freeze over $3 bln belonging to Russians (photo: Russian media)

The United States has frozen over three billion dollars on the Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange (SPB Exchange) due to sanctions, reports the Moscow Times.

"Foreign securities totaling just over $3 billion were frozen after the imposition of U.S. blocking sanctions on November 2," the statement of the stock exchange says.

On the eve of this announcement, the head of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, revealed that Russians had reduced their investments in foreign securities from $7 billion in February 2022 to $3 billion in November 2023.

After the SPB Exchange was blacklisted, trading on it was suspended. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a license, extending operations with the platform for three months. The term expires on January 31.

On December 19, the SPB Exchange reported problems with unlocking client assets, stating that American counterparts and those connected to the U.S. refused to operate under the OFAC license due to fears of falling under secondary sanctions, as it does not cover such transactions.

SPB Stock Exchange

The stock exchange was founded in 1997. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the volume of trading in foreign securities on the exchange nearly tripled. The exchange also launched trading in Hong Kong stocks.

Sanctions against Russia

Recall that in 2023, the United States and its allies focused on measures that would prevent Russia from avoiding sanctions. Recently, Washington has intensified measures against companies helping Moscow export oil above the $60 price cap.

In total, the U.S. government intends to halve Russia's revenues from oil and gas exports by 2030.

Recently, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an order to strengthen sanctions on financial institutions aiding Russia.