MOSCOW, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Clients of Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank withdrew $1.1 billion in foreign currency deposits in August, due to the holiday season and the risk of possible new U.S. sanctions, Sberbank Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Morozov told Reuters.
Russian financial markets have been experiencing volatility linked to the prospect of sanctions since August, with selloffs both in the rouble and in treasury bonds.
The rouble has since started to recover, helped by the central bank raising the key interest rate for the first time since 2014.
Sberbank’s Morozov said that the outflows were seen from early August to mid-September, “afterwards forex deposits outflows have stopped.” He did not provide figures for September.
He said the August withdrawals were partly due to people taking out money to spend while on holiday abroad, and partly because of depositors’ anxiety about the impact of new sanctions.
In mid-September, Andrei Kostin, chief executive with VTB , Russia’s second biggest bank, told Russian radio Business FM in an interview that VTB may consider paying out forex deposits in roubles if needed.
The Kremlin and the central bank later clarified that there was no such proposals or plans. (Reporting by Tatiana Voronova Writing by Katya Golubkova Editing by Louise Heavens)