MOSCOW, April 15 Sberbank, Russia's
biggest lender, has toughened its trade finance requirements in
Ukraine because of rising political risks there, its trade
finance chief Andrei Ivanov said on Tuesday.
But he said the bank's trade finance business had not been
affected by the Western sanctions imposed on some politicians
and business figures in response to Russia's annexation of the
Ukrainian region of Crimea.
"Risks (over Ukraine) have increased now due to the
political instability," Ivanov told a news briefing in Moscow.
"The country's ratings had been revised and naturally we had to
correct our estimate of risks related to this type of deal."
He said all banks have revised the cost of risk for Ukraine
after the country's ratings were downgraded, making trade
finance more expensive.
However, Sberbank continues to do deals in the trade finance
sector in Ukraine, he said. Moody's rating agency downgraded
Ukraine's government bond rating to Caa3 from Caa2 in April
On the sanctions imposed by the United States and European
Union, Ivanov said: "We don't see any negative impact on our
business development ... We are continuing business as usual."
While Sberbank continues to work with partners from all
countries, Ivanov said its partners in Asia had stepped up their
work with the bank and "are making us interesting proposals on
foreign trade financing."
That fits in with a strategy, pushed by the Kremlin, for
Russian business to enhance their ties with Asia in response to
cooling relations with the West.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Mark Heinrich)