- The Russians Have Already Quietly Pulled Their Money From The West!
by Tyler Durden, www.zerohedge.com
Earlier today we reported that according to weekly Fed data, a record amount – some $105 billion – in Treasurys had been sold or simply reallocated (which for political reasons is the same thing) from the Fed’s custody accounts, bringing the total amount of US paper held at the Fed to a level not seen since December 2012. While China was one of the culprits suggested to have withdrawn the near USD-equivalent paper, a far likelier candidate was Russia, which as is well-known, has had a modest falling out with the West in general, and its financial system in particular. Turns out what Russian official institutions may have done with their Treasurys (and we won’t know for sure until June), it was merely the beginning. In fact, as the FT reports, in silent and not so silent preparations for what will be near-certain financial sanctions (which would include account freezes and asset confiscations following this Sunday’s Crimean referendum) the snealy Russians, read oligarchs, have already pulled billions from banks in the west thereby essentially making the biggest western gambit – that of going after the wealth of Russia’s 0.0001% – moot.
From the FT:
Russian companies are pulling billions out of western banks, fearful that any US sanctions over the Crimean crisis could lead to an asset freeze, according to bankers in Moscow.
Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s giant partly state-owned banks, as well as industrial companies, such as energy group Lukoil, are among those repatriating cash from western lenders with operations in the US. VTB has also cancelled a planned US investor summit next month, according to bankers.
The flight comes as last-ditch diplomatic talks between Russia’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state to resolve the tensions in Ukraine ended without an agreement.
Markets were nervous before Sunday’s Crimea referendum on secession from Ukraine. Traders and businesspeople fear this could spark western sanctions against Russia as early as Monday.