Russia back on the map with investors after two year hiatus, Credit Suisse banker says

Tracey Boles
Russian President Vladimir Putin stands
A rebound in Russian stock markets is encouraging investor interest (Source: Getty)

Investors are starting to look at Russia again after cutting off exposure amid geopolitical tensions two years ago, the head of Credit Suisse's $60m (£42m) Russian Equity Fund said.

There are no big inflows yet but a rebound in Russian stock markets in the past few months as the oil price and the rouble have picked up is encouraging interest, Anna Vaananen told Reuters.

"The same people, I am seeing for the first time in two years, are now asking for an update on what is going on with the Russian market," Vaananen said. "I think it is actually a real change."

The top holdings in the Swiss bank's Russian Equity Fund include the country's largest lender Sberbank, retailers Magnit and X5, oil producer Lukoil, the biggest search engine Yandex and the top mobile phone operator MTS.

As of the end of March, the fund had made a gross return of 7.4 per cent since the start of this year but was down 9.9 per cent over the past three years.

Like other emerging markets, Russian equities have improved after a volatile start to the year.

While economic sanctions imposed on Russia and a weak economy kept investors away over the past two years, the price of oil, the country's chief export, has stabilised in the past few weeks while some Western investors say they hope sanctions will be softened in the coming months.

Vaananen sees Russia's economy bottoming out during the second quarter and then starting to gradually recover.