Russian Banks’ Deposits at 14-Month Low as Liquidity Shrinks

Russian lenders’ deposits at the central bank, a key indicator of liquidity, dropped to a 14- month low this week, pushing up borrowing costs on the domestic money market.

Deposits shrank to 146.2 billion rubles ($4.6 billion) today, compared with this year’s high of 962.6 billion rubles on May 14, Bloomberg data show. Deposits dropped to 140.2 billion rubles on Nov. 29, the lowest level since Sept. 30, 2009.

“Given the ongoing growth of demand for liquidity due to the recovery of bank lending, as well as rising borrowing by the government and corporates, we think the cost of borrowing should also start to rise shortly,” Vladimir Osakovsky, chief economist in Moscow at UniCredit SpA, said in a research note.

The overnight MosPrime rate, the average interest banks charge each other, jumped to 4.78 percent yesterday, the highest since January, and was at 3.66 percent today. The deposits are the “closest approximation of existing excess liquidity in the banking system,” according to UniCredit.

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