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MOSCOW, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank said on Friday it had relaxed rules governing banks’ exposure to one borrower or a group of related borrowers, shielding them from recent volatility in the rouble.
All Russian banks will be able to use more favourable exchange rates for the period Jan. 1 to March 31 when assessing whether they comply with rules on their risk concentrations, the bank said in a statement.
Banks will be able to use the central bank’s exchange rate as of Jan. 1 for operations in U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds, Swiss francs and Japanese yen, it said.
The rouble has fallen by around 3 percent against the dollar since the start of the year, but at one point last week it was down versus the U.S. currency by more than 14 percent.
The relaxations will come as good news for banks including Sberbank and VTB, the country’s two largest.
The central bank statement on Friday made no mention of whether the regulatory easing also affected the exchange rates banks use to calculate their capital levels, a relaxation banks had been seeking.
A source told Reuters the central bank was holding a meeting with bankers last week on the exchange rate banks use for regulatory purposes after the rouble fell to record lows against the dollar due to weak oil prices. (Reporting by Alexander Winning, Lidia Kelly and Oksana Kobzeva; Editing by Alexander Smith)