LONDON, July 23 Lending to Ukraine and Russia by
international banks fell sharply in the first three months of
this year as geopolitical tensions in the region escalated and
currency falls cut the value of loans, lending data showed.
Foreign loans to Russia fell to $209 billion at the end of
March, down 7 percent from $225 billion at the end of December,
according to data released on Wednesday by the Bank for
International Settlements (BIS), which tracks cross-border bank
lending. Lending to Ukraine dropped to $22 billion, down 14
percent from $25 billion.
BIS said much of the drop in the value of loans was due to
the sharp depreciation of the value of the ruble and Ukrainian
hryvnia against the U.S. dollar, however, as it reduces the
dollar value of loans booked in local currencies.
Locational banking statistics on an exchange rate-adjusted
basis showed international loans to Russia fell by $300 million
in the quarter and dropped by $1.5 billion in Ukraine, BIS said.
(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Matt Scuffham)