April 5, 2017 / 3:43 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Rosneft and Alrosa start direct FX operations via Moscow Exchange

MOSCOW, April 5 (Reuters) - Russian energy company Rosneft and state-controlled diamond miner Alrosa have started direct foreign exchange operations on the Moscow Exchange, potentially leading to lower rouble volatility.

Russian companies normally trade currencies on the exchange via commercial banks or brokerages, paying commission on the transactions. But large companies got the option to trade directly since January, in a move aimed at boosting liquidity on the exchange.

“The number of participants will increase.. This is positive and can lower volatility, as well as narrow spreads between currency purchases and sales,” Alexander Polonsky, deputy head of the monetary policy department at the central bank, told reporters on Wednesday.

Both Rosneft and Alrosa have sold several tens of millions of dollars directly via the Moscow Exchange (MOEX) on Tuesday, Igor Marich, managing director of the money and derivatives market at MOEX, said.

Rosneft had promised the exchange a “stable” flow of direct forex operations, Marich told reporters.

Referring to Rosneft, MOEX said in a statement that direct access to forex operations would allow the company to more effectively manage its liquidity.

Alrosa plans to conduct up to 50 percent of its all currency operations via the new tool, amounting to $150-$200 million a month, Interfax reported on Wednesday.

Rosneft did not respond to Reuters request on exact volumes.

Additional reporting by Olesya Astakhova; writing by Katya Golubkova; editing by Sujata Rao

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