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25 Sep, 2018 14:12

US won’t sanction Russia’s state debt & dollar transactions – Fitch

US won’t sanction Russia’s state debt & dollar transactions – Fitch

International ratings agency Fitch says Washington is unlikely to introduce measures targeting Russia’s sovereign debt or blocking dollar transactions by the nation’s lenders.

The top ratings agency said that the sanctions situation would remain “volatile and unpredictable,” according to local news agencies. However, it said that it is unlikely that new US sanctions will be introduced that would prevent Russia from servicing its current state debt, or ban dollar transactions for the country’s banks.

The report added that, in the event of tougher penalties against Russia’s banking institutions, lenders will face difficulties in “fulfilling exchange commitments, including deposits.” However, state aid would reportedly help.

In August, Russia’s business daily Kommersant posted the draft introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators. The bill includes proposals to sanction new sovereign debt and block dollar transactions by the nation’s biggest lenders.

The Russian economy has been coping with sanctions that were introduced in April, although financial markets experienced volatility.

Back then, the White House introduced penalties against a handful of prominent Russian billionaires and their assets. The measure sent markets plummeting. Later, the Treasury softened its position by outlining a path to lift curbs on companies controlled by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska.

Russia’s economy is not being wrecked by sanctions, Erich Arispe, director of Fitch Ratings’ Sovereigns group, said at the agency’s annual conference.

The expert described the Russian economy as “quite well adjusted” following the imposition of sanctions. This was evident from current policies and macroeconomic indicators, he said.

However, he warned that further sanctions would restrict access to finance and ultimately dampen economic growth.

Moscow and Washington are currently involved in a longstanding diplomatic spat. Over recent years, the US has introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia over a number of accusations. They include involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, reunification with Crimea, alleged US election meddling, a purported violation of sanctions against North Korea, and alleged nefarious activity in cyberspace.

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