US Sanctions on Russian Sovereign Debt, Ban on Dollar Ops Are Unlikely - Fitch

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - International statistical ratings organization Fitch does not consider likely the introduction of US sanctions against Russian government bonds and a ban on Russian banks from carrying out US dollar-denominated operations, Erich Arispe, head of the Fitch Ratings' Sovereigns group, said on Tuesday.

"Fitch does not consider US sanctions, which would hinder the servicing of the existing [Russian] sovereign debt, as well as a ban on Russian banks to carry out US dollar-denominated operations as likely," Arispe said in his presentation at a Fitch Ratings' annual conference in Moscow.

He specified that since the possibility of additional, tougher US sanctions had increased, there were risks related to fundraising, private sector access to international funding, and to macroeconomic instability. According to Arispe, the possibility of new sanctions affects the growth prospects as well.

READ MORE: US Anti-Russia Sanctions Policy Causes Annoyance at Home, Among Allies — AmCham

"The systemically important [Russian] banks have a comfortable currency liquidity cushion, which covers over 20 percent of the foreign currency deposits. The CBM [Credit Bank of Moscow] has a comfortable cushion, considering the short-term corporate reverse repurchase agreement," Fitch said in a release for the conference.

According to Fitch, the major Russian banks' dollarization is higher than average.

"The deposits' dollarization has been increasing in the past few years, but it is slightly higher at the systemically important banks than sector's average," the release read.

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The document follows an extensive sanctions bill against Russia introduced on August 2 by a group of US senators led by Lindsey Graham as a response to Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and its activity in Syria and in Crimea. The senators aimed to block dollar-denominated transactions by Russian banks and US nationals’ operations with the country’s sovereign debt.

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