Russia's RTSA Russian trader studies markets at a private international investment banking firm in Moscow
Moscow - AFP
Russia's RTS stock index plunged below 1,100 points on Thursday for the first time since March under pressure from Western sanctions over Ukraine and as top officials sounded alarm over the economy.
The RTS dollar-denominated stock market was down 1.4 percent at 1,098 points at 2:40 pm Moscow time (10:40 GMT). It last fell below 1,100 points in March.
The other main indice, the ruble-denominated Micex stock market, was down 1.49 percent at the same time.
The stock market plunged as President Vlaidimir Putin on Thursday, speaking at an investment forum in Moscow, sought to reassure investors, pledging that Russia would remain an open economy.
But economy minister Alexei Ulyukaev said at the same forum that the combination of 8.0-percent inflation and economic growth of less than 1.0 percent was a "crass and explosive situation."
Russia's economy is reeling from Western sanctions over Moscow's role in the east Ukraine conflict, which cut off access to capital markets for major companies and banks.
Russia's ruble has fallen heavily in value against the dollar and euro, with the national currency losing around a fifth of its value since the beginning of the year.