Russia’s benchmark stock gauge extended its worst start to the year since 2008 yesterday, led by energy companies, as oil prices declined and a report showed Chinese non-manufacturing growth slowed.

The Micex index fell 0.3 percent to 1 450.53 by 2.44pm in Moscow, taking this year’s decline to 3.6 percent. Gazprom shares fell for a third day, sliding 1 percent. Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, fell 1.5 percent. Brent crude slipped 0.4 percent after a 1.4 percent loss on Friday

“Falling Brent futures do not help,” Slava Smolyaninov, the chief strategist at UralSib Capital in Moscow, said. “The numbers from China are a blow for all emerging markets.”

The rouble has slumped 6.5 percent against the dollar this year. – Bloomberg