Ukrainian equity collapse outpaces Greek market losses

By bne IntelliNews May 15, 2012

Graham Stack in Kyiv -

Whilst Greece is at the centre of a storm depressing stock markets across the globe, the Ukrainian bourse has fallen harder and faster this month than its peer in Athens following a collapse on May 14. Analysts suggest that low liquidity is exasperating the effect of global and regional triggers.

With equities retreating across the world as the markets fret over the likelihood of a Greek exit from the Eurozone, Ukraine's UX index plummeted by 7.3% on May 14, taking its fall since the start of May to 20%. Greece's panic-stricken ASE meanwhile has lost 16.55% so far this month, as the country's politicians continue to struggle to find a route to agree a coalition that can work with EU bailout conditions following split election results on May 6.

A number of leading stocks, including Astarta, Industrial Milk Company, Azovstal and Yenakiieve Steel, suffered double digit collapses. The panic spread to Ukrainian titles on the London Stock Exchange, with iron giant Ferrexpo dropping 5.4% and MHP down 8.3%. The Ukrainian index on the Warsaw stock exchange fared better, limiting losses to 4.1%.

"[May 14] saw a capitulation of Ukrainian equities," write Dragon Capital analysts. "The traditional May bear mood was fueled by a sell-off in Russia and weaker commodity prices driven by China's slowdown." The collapse takes the UX index back to the mid-crisis level of August 2009.

However, there have been no domestic triggers for the extent of the collapse, with early May slow in Ukraine due to public holidays. Nor was there a mass sell-off. Trading volume on May 14 was at a risible $2.2m. Instead, traders point to the exchange's lack of liquidity as provoking the depth of the fall.

Like a dive into an empty swimming pool, there are simply no buyers in the market. "The market is crumbling, with no buyers to prop it up either domestically or abroad," write Art Capital analysts.

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