May 2 Big U.S. banks reported lower exposure to
Russia in the first quarter, as Western nations imposed
sanctions on some of the country's citizens and businesses in
response to its seizure of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
During the first quarter, Bank of America Corp cut
its net exposure to Russia by 22 percent to $5.2 billion, most
of which was in the form of loans to Russian energy companies
and banks, the company said in a Thursday filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.
"The situation remains fluid with potential for further
escalation of geopolitical tensions, increased severity of
sanctions against Russian interests, and possible Russian
counter-sanctions," the second largest U.S. bank said in its
JPMorgan Chase & Co's exposure to Russia declined by
13 percent to $4.7 billion, placing it outside the company's
list of its top 20 country exposures, the bank said on Friday in
a quarterly filing with the SEC.
Citigroup Inc's exposure to Russia declined by 8.7
percent to $9.4 billion during the three months through the end
of March, according to a Friday quarterly filing with the SEC.
In the same period, the Russian ruble depreciated 8.3 percent
against the U.S. dollar and an index of Russian stocks fell 9
percent, Citigroup said.
The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday slashed its
forecast for Russia's 2014 GDP growth from 1.3 percent to 0.2
percent, citing Ukraine-related sanctions as a risk factor.
JPMorgan said it was closely monitoring the impact of any
current and future sanctions as well as possible contagion
effects or potential credit downgrades that could influence
other parts of the bank's business.
U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela
Merkel warned on Friday of additional sanctions against Russia
if it interferes with Ukraine's planned May 25 elections.
(Reporting by Peter Rudegeair and David Henry in New York;
Editing by David Gregorio)