MOSCOW, April 15 (Reuters) - 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)