MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) - New US and EU sanctions against Russia will not harm the credit capacity of the Russian economy and the blacklisted banks, the Fitch ratings agency said on Friday.
"New sanctions, announced this week by the European Union and the United States, combined with increased international tension, will not materially impair the credit profiles of either Russia or the banks, directly affected by the sanctions in the near term," Fitch Ratings said in a statement.
On Thursday, the European Union officially blacklisted Russia’s largest state-run banks for Russia’s alleged role in the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank and Rosselkhozbank were barred from raising financing on western capital markets.
The United States also imposed new economic sanctions against Russia on July 29, targeting three major banks — VTB Group, Bank of Moscow and Rosselkhozbank.
Fitch said the state-run banks, including their domestic subsidiaries, had external liabilities of about $137 billion at end the first quarter, or 64 percent of the outstanding amount of the banking system as a whole. Russian banks sourced about $20 billion of those liabilities from foreign subsidiaries.
Fitch said that despite the sanctions the acceptable liquidity of the banks under Western restrictions lowers the chances of higher restructuring risks. The Russian government's support could also have a positive effect on local creditors.
However, capital markets are likely to remain closed for Russian companies in 2014-15, which would require internal restructuring of the corporate and banking sectors.
Fitch analysts forecast the reserves of the Central Bank of Russia to fall to $450 billion by the year-end from the current $472.5 billion, and further to $400 billion by the end of 2015. Should the capital outflow continue, Russia risks losing even more in reserves.