EBRD lending to Russia could drop, some shareholders uneasy

WARSAW Thu May 15, 2014 7:27am EDT

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WARSAW May 15 (Reuters) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's lending to Russia could drop as the economy slows, the bank's president said on Thursday, adding some of its shareholder countries are uneasy about Russia's dealings with Ukraine.

EBRD funding in Russia slumped last year to 1.8 billion euros from 2.6 billion in 2012 due to what the development bank termed "difficult investment conditions" and the bank's head Suma Chakrabarti said it could now drop this year.

"It could impact on our business volumes in a country the size of Russia if the economy keeps slowing because investment then slows," Chakrabarti told reporters.

The bank had no plans at the moment, however, to stop its funding to Russia in reaction to the annexation of Crimea in eastern Ukraine, despite anxiety among some of its shareholders about the situation.

"There are some shareholders that are seriously concerned at, as they perceive it, Russia's behaviour in eastern Ukraine."

"That may play out in the EBRD, it hasn't yet... the shareholders bought into my argument that the EBRD has been a force for good in Russia. We will see what the future holds, but not yet," Chakrabarti said.

(Reporting by Marc Jones Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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