Russia’s banking sector looks weak, economic growth modest: World Bank

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s banking sector remains relatively week despite the recent bailouts of major lenders by the central bank, the World Bank said on Monday.

In a regular report, the Washington-based World Bank said the banking sector in Russia had a lower adequacy ratio and a higher ratio of non-performing loans than other emerging market countries.

Russia’s central bank has shut hundreds of lenders in the past few years and rescued several major banks at a cost of tens of billions of dollars.

As of April 1, 2019, the top five banks generated 57% of all banking sector profits, and state-owned banks accounted for 62% of all banking assets, according to World Bank estimates.

Commenting on Russia’s economic growth outlook, the World Bank said it was modest even though the country’s macroeconomic and fiscal buffers were strong.

It expects gross domestic product growth to slow to 1.2% in 2019 from 2.3% in 2018. In 2020 and 2021, the World Bank projected GDP growth of 1.8% a year.

“On the upside, national projects aimed at strengthening human capital and increasing productivity, if well-implemented, could positively affect Russia’s potential growth in the medium-term,” the Bank said in its report.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Catherine Evans

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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