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Russia’s Banks Show Signs of Economy Recovery, Troika Says

May 06, 2009

Russian banking data for the first three months of 2009 indicate that the first signs of economic recovery may emerge this quarter, according to Troika Dialog, Russia’s oldest investment bank.

Growth in delinquent debt decelerated in March, Andrew Keeley, Troika’s London-based bank analyst, and Olga Veselova in Moscow, said in a report today. The rise in overdue loans slowed to $1.6 billion in March after growing an average $2.4 billion during the first two months, according to Troika.

“March numbers show early signs that a recovery could start in the second quarter, but with overdues continuing to rise and banks spending all their earnings on provisions, we remain cautious on the sector,” Troika analysts wrote.

Overdue loans reached 3.7 percent of total credits, the Russian central bank said in a report published yesterday. Overdue corporate debt in March rose to 3.5 percent, compared with 2.1 percent last year, while bad retail loans climbed to 4.7 percent from 3.7 percent in 2008, according to Troika.

Russian banks’ debt to Bank Rossii showed the first monthly decline this year in March, reaching $97 billion, according to Troika. The trend is expected to continue, and the central bank’s decision last month to raise mandatory requirements for banks indicates the regulator does not believe Russia faces any major liquidity risks, Troika said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Abelsky in St. Petersburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Kirkham at

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