Russian stock market still shut after plunge: market official

MOSCOW (AFP) — Trading on the Russian stock market was suspended for a third day on Thursday after the worst plunge in share prices since the 1998 financial crisis, a market spokesman told AFP.

"Trading has not started again. We have not received permission from the FSFM (Federal Service for Financial Markets)," a spokesman for the dollar-denominated RTS stock market in Moscow told AFP.

A spokeswoman for the ruble-denominated MICEX, which has also been suspended, said: "We don't have any information. We're not commenting." The market's website appeared to show there had been no renewal in trading.

The stock markets were suspended for an hour on Tuesday and remained closed for most of the day on Wednesday after being shut down by the financial markets authority to prevent a meltdown and allow time for a government rescue plan.

Officials earlier pledged to inject 44 billion dollars into the market to fight collapsing investor confidence and the central bank said it was slashing a range of reserve requirements for banks by four percent.

The RTS has now lost 57 percent since hitting an all-time high in May, a slump analysts put down to a mix of falling energy prices, global market turmoil and political issues including worries over the war with Georgia.

Analysts say officials are afraid of panic if some Russian banks collapse.