The dollar was exchanged for stability – Gazeta Kommersant № 55 (7256) from 31.03.2022

The Central Bank has approved different exchange rates for different market participants. For legal entities that are engaged in imports or have obligations on loans or bonds in foreign currency, the difference with the exchange rate should not exceed 2 rubles, while for others, on the contrary, will be more than 10 rubles. Such regulation will stabilize the foreign exchange market in the current volatile conditions and reduce the risk of losses for banks, experts say.

In a letter to the banks, the Central Bank recommended setting different exchange rates for different market participants, market participants who received the document told Kommersant. As explained in the document, the goal is to “ensure stability in the financial market and prevent the growth of liabilities of credit institutions.”

In particular, it is proposed to determine the range of spreads on transactions of purchase and sale of currency with a deviation of at least 10 rubles. from the exchange rate for legal entities. We are talking about dollars (84.15 rubles at the end of trading on March 30), euros (93.9 rubles) and pounds sterling (114 rubles). At the same time, for transactions of importers purchasing currency to fulfill obligations under import contracts, the maximum amount of deviation of the exchange rate for the sale of currencies should not exceed 2 rubles. The same spread is set for companies that need currency to service obligations, both to credit institutions and to Eurobond owners.

The need for clarification in the Central Bank is explained by the fact that in late February – early March against the background of high demand from legal entities and individuals, this difference in transactions in dollars and euros reached 20-25 rubles. But now the situation is “gradually normalizing”, so the Central Bank recommended narrowing the spread for certain categories of currency buyers.

A number of large companies, in particular Rosneft, ALROSA, Phosagro, Gazprom, and Transneft, gained direct access to exchange trading in 2017. However, according to the decision of the Bank of Russia, from March 4, 2022 for them when buying foreign currency (dollars, euros and pounds) set an exchange commission of 12% of the transaction amount. Almost two dozen Russian companies, including Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, Phosagro, NLMK and Severstal, have Eurobonds denominated in dollars and euros.

Banks interviewed by Kommersant did not assess how the innovations will affect their performance and balance sheet. Only Zenit Bank assured that “such recommendations will not affect the balance sheet of banks, as all conversion operations of credit institutions are blocked on the stock exchange or on the interbank market.”

Foreign currency acquired for specific purposes of settlements with suppliers and creditors will be spent almost immediately by customers, ie transferred to the accounts of suppliers and creditors, often abroad. Accordingly, this will not affect the currency structure of the balance sheets of Russian banks, will not generate additional currency risks, confirms the managing director of the validation department of the rating agency “Expert RA” Yuri Belikov.

A large spread and a significant deviation from the current exchange rate for other categories of corporate clients – in fact, a barrier to speculative transactions, the expert said. “The course has not yet stabilized, there are many variables that can affect it in the near future. If banks in the current environment were to accept new foreign currency liabilities on a significant scale, there would be difficulties with the placement of these funds. After all, the range of currency instruments with moderate risk is now very limited, ”explains Mr. Belikov.

At the same time, in the event of a weakening ruble, customers aiming at speculative income could demand repayment of liabilities with conversion into an increased ruble equivalent. The fair value of foreign exchange assets guaranteeing these liabilities could be affected by other market risks, the expert said. Thus, Mr. Belikov believes, an increase in the currency’s share of the balance sheet would now lead to an increase in the risk of losses due to market risks, and the regulator’s recommendations are aimed at minimizing the potential scale of such a scenario.

Polina Trifonova

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