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Sberbank CEO Sees Russian Banks With Less Money to Lend

Herman Gref, chief executive of OAO Sberbank, sees capital available for lending in the Russian banking industry decreasing until September at the earliest.

“There is an acute liquidity shortage in the market and I see the trend increasing until at least autumn,” Gref told reporters in Moscow today.

Russia’s inflation accelerated to 7.6 percent last month, the fastest pace since August 2011, reducing the likelihood that the central bank will embark on the interest rate cuts that may stimulate lending. The bank will probably leave the key one-week repurchase rate on hold at 7.5 percent at its next meeting on June 16 after raising it 200 basis points since February, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Moscow-based Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender with just under 50 percent of the nation’s deposits, doesn’t rule out raising its own interest rates, Gref said.

Sberbank’s corporate lending increased to 9.41 trillion rubles ($273 billion) as of June 1, up 9.6 percent from Jan. 1, while retail loans expanded 8.6 percent to 3.62 trillion rubles, according to results prepared under Russian accounting standards and published today. The bank’s total provision charge almost tripled to 119 billion rubles in January through May from a year earlier, it said.

Gref said he will prepare two potential successors should he leave the bank. He is a former economy minister under President Vladimir Putin.

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