The CBR has announced preliminary banking sector statistics for February. The corporate loan book grew 0.4% MoM (vs. -0.2% in January) and the retail portfolio increased 1.7% MoM (0.8%). YoY growth accelerated in the corporate segment to 15% YoY (from 13.5% in the previous month) and slightly decelerated to 39.1% (vs. 39.6%) in retail. Elsewhere, retail deposits grew a strong 2.3% MoM and 22.1% YoY.
The recovery in the corporate segment is a positive signal, although we reiterate our view of decelerating loan growth in 2013, as the rebound might be due to a decline in the corporate portfolio in January-February 2012. Meanwhile, slower loan growth in the retail segment suggests lower demand and the effect of a strong base a year ago (in absolute terms, for the same period the increase is greater in 2013). Slowing down retail lending activity and picking up deposits growth is resulting in a higher savings ratio for households, leading to weaker consumer spending growth.
We expect this trend to continue well into this year until the economy feels the effect of the monetary policy easing cycle, which we expect to start as soon as April. We think the situation with consumer spending will start gradually improving this autumn.
Mikhail Shlemov, Svetlana Aslanova
VTB Capital analyst
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