August 15, 2019 / 3:12 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Sberbank converted FX proceeds from DenizBank sale in early August - sources

(Adds details, Sberbank and c.bank reaction)

By Tatiana Voronova and Elena Fabrichnaya

MOSCOW, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Russia’s largest lender Sberbank sold a large amount of foreign currency for roubles on the market in early August when it converted proceeds from selling its Turkish business, DenizBank, three financial market sources said on Thursday.

Sberbank said in late July it had closed a deal to sell DenizBank, once its biggest foreign asset, to Emirates NBD, marking the end of Sberbank’s foreign expansion which it began before 2014 Western sanctions.

Sberbank said it had earned 170.7 billion roubles from the sale, which in early August bought around $2.68 billion.

Two sources close to Sberbank told Reuters the state-controlled lender had converted $2.7 billion it had received from selling DenizBank. Sberbank converted the funds in tranches over several trading days in early August, the two sources said.

Another financial market source, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Sberbank had converted large amounts of foreign currency in early August.

One of the sources close to Sberbank said the conversion had supported the rouble, but the other source close to Sberbank and the financial market source said the transactions had had only a limited impact on the rouble exchange rate.

The rouble, hit by fresh U.S. sanctions against Russia and a broader sell-off on emerging markets, fell sharply in early August. In the first six trading days of the month, the rouble’s losses against the dollar reached 3% compared with the end of July.

Sberbank did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The central bank declined to comment.

$1 = 66.2525 roubles Writing by Andrey Ostroukh Editing by Andrew Osborn

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