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There Will Be a Default in Russia after Elections

There Will Be a Default in Russia after Elections
29.08.2007

Money of citizens and enterprises can at any moment get stuck on the accounts of medium and small size banks. In opinion of international agency Fitch, the Russian banks are not protected from sudden occurrence of crisis of liquidity - situation when banks will stop client servicing because of shortage of means. Last time such situation took place in the summer of 2004 when several large and set of small and medium size banks could not pay off with clients and counterparts in time.

The level of trust between banks has recently fallen and not each bank can count on credits from colleagues in case of appearance of difficulties with execution of current obligations before clients. Mortgage crisis in the USA as well as nervousness arisen in the financial markets affected the Russian banks which lifted interest rates under mutual credits.

International agency Fitch in the end of the last week declared that "the Russian banks as a whole remain vulnerable in case of problems with liquidity and trust to bank system". Thus "small and medium size banks in a greater degree will be subjected to risk".

In the message published by him is affirmed that "growth of premiums for risk will reduce opportunities of the Russian banks on attraction of means and will lead to increase of cost of funding which will be difficult to shift on clients". According to the experts of Fitch, in Russia there is a situation when "deposits of physical persons can be withdrawn at any moment", while low transparency and quality of management reduce the general level of trust to banks.

The first vice-president of the Central Bank Gennady Melikjan last week advised the Russian bankers to reduce foreign loans and to be reoriented on a home market. "Shocks in the USA influenced financial condition of Russia, - Melikijan declared". By his estimation, an external debt of the Russian banks increased 100 billion dollars and its share in passives - 15 %. "Up to 20 % - is still possible, after 25 % - it is bad, above 30 % - is absolutely bad. So, situation is absolutely bad with some banks", - Interfax quotes Melikjan's words. "Absolutely bad", according to Melikjan, are thing in "Russian Standard", Ursa-Bank, MDM-Bank and Alfa-Bank. Borrowing in such volumes becomes dangerous as soon as it creates great risk in case of growth of dollar rate, Malikjan explained.

- Bank crisis is hardly possible in the nearest half a year in Russia, - political scientist Vladimir Filin considers. - Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have enough resources and financial tools to keep situation, especially from mass non-payments to physical persons that can affect an outcome of the elections in December and March. However after the next elective cycle when political stability will be no longer important, they in the Kremlin can decide that it is unprofitable to support financial stability of bank system at own expense and will break crush "surplus" banks having called it "readjustment" of bank system. As a result 400 billion roubles being on deposits of citizens in the Russian banks will "sterilized".

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