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Russia's Sberbank beats Q2 forecast on provisions, forex gains

Russia's top bank Sberbank made net profit of 54.6 billion roubles ($786 million) in the second quarter, better than analysts had forecast, as its provisions were lower than expected and it made sizeable foreign exchange gains.

Its earnings were up 78 percent on the previous quarter but 44 percent lower than a year earlier.

Sberbank, like other large Russian state banks, is under Western sanctions over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict that have restricted its access to international capital.

Its profits have slumped since last year because of an economic slowdown that has caused a rise in bad loans.

A man walks past a branch of Sberbank Rossii on March 7, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine.
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A man walks past a branch of Sberbank Rossii on March 7, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine.

Sberbank said it had set aside 117 billion roubles in loan-loss provisions in the second quarter, compared with 74 billion roubles in the same period of 2014.

Its net interest income was 227 billion roubles, down from 250 billion a year earlier but up from 200 billion in the previous quarter.

Its accounts showed it had made net gains of over 17 billion roubles in the second quarter through trading forex, forex derivatives and forex translation, versus 7 billion roubles a year earlier.

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Sberbank has proven more resilient than rivals as it has benefited from a flight to safety whereby households and companies concerned about the impact of an economic crisis have moved their deposits to Sberbank.

Its funding costs eased in the second quarter as the central bank lowered its main lending rate from 14 percent to 11.5 percent over the period.

Sberbank holds about 30 percent of Russia's total banking sector assets and Russians are used to trusting the bank with their savings since the Soviet era.

Sberbank shares were 0.7 percent lower at 1012 GMT, underperforming the MICEX index which was almost flat.

Analysts had estimated the bank would make 41.2 billion roubles of profit in the second three months of the year.

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