04:59 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Top Russian banks to lend extra $2.4 bln to bolster stock market

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    MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Sberbank, VTB and Gazprombank will allocate an extra 60 billion rubles ($2.36 billion) to credit stock market players against the pledge of securities, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Thursday.

    Russia's main financial regulator, the Federal Financial Markets Service, halted trading on the country's two main stock exchanges, RTS and MICEX, on Wednesday after share prices plummeted to their lowest levels in nearly three years amid a worsening global financial crisis.

    Russian authorities said the situation was tense but had been caused by a crisis of confidence rather than by a liquidity crunch.

    In a move to shore up market liquidity, the Russian government said Wednesday it would lend up to 1.12 trillion ($44 billion) to Sberbank, VTB and Gazprombank, which would subsequently offer loans to small and medium banks.

    Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that his country had enough resources to ensure financial stability and pledged the necessary support for the market.

    "The Russian authorities have enough resources to ensure stability in the financial sector," Medvedev said. "The market will receive the necessary support."

    Medvedev suggested the government allocate some $20 billion, with 50% of the sum to come from the federal budget, to shore up the domestic stock market.

    At the same time, Kudrin announced that trading at Russian stock exchanges would resume Friday after a two-day halt. "The decision has been made ... to resume trading tomorrow," the finance minster said.