ECB Warns UK: Excluding Russia From SWIFT "Could Undermine Confidence In The Whole System"

ECB Warns UK: Excluding Russia From SWIFT “Could Undermine Confidence In The Whole System”

Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/26/2015 19:20 -0500

As “isolated” Russia signs a military deal with Cyprus, agrees bilateral trade with Greece, ratifies the $100 billion BRICS Bank, and offers to trade advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, it seems threats of more sanctions against Putin and his nation are finding resistance from an unexpected place. With British PM David Cameron re-demanding that Russia be excluded from the SWIFT global financial payments system, none other than ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny has exclaimed, “one has to be very careful here, exclusion of Russia from Swift would be very problematic because it could potentially undermine confidence in this system as a whole.”

As Der Standard reports (via Google Translate),

A SWIFT exclusion of Russia as a sanction against the EU-Ukraine Moscow because of the crisis had last been suggested by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Nowotny said he had spoken with EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici… the question of the Russia-EU sanctions.

“I pointed out that one has to be very careful here,” the governor said. Exclusion of Russia from Swift “we would see as very problematic because it could potentially undermine confidence in this system as a whole”.

Austria would advocate a pragmatic way. His warning was not so much related to Austria, but on the credibility of the SWIFT system. This international payment system should be a neutral service, Nowotny said.

For Austria exclusion of Russia from Swift would have no immediate effect. However, Russia could then put retaliation, “and, of course, would have implications for all companies doing business in Russia there”. But he assumed that it would not come to such a step. He would not comment on the sanctions, “only if sanctioned, this is not the appropriate field.”

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Of course, Russia has already created an alternative to SWIFT – as it said it would…as Sputnik News reports,

Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network.

The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia.

It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT.

Joining the global interbank system in 1989, Russia has become one of the most active users of SWIFT globally, sending hundreds of thousands of messages per day. In general, SWIFT provides a secure communication network for more than ten thousands of financial institutions around the world, approving transactions of trillions of US dollars.

Earlier this month Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov expressed confidence that Russia would not be disconnected from SWIFT. In her turn, Russian Central Bank First Deputy Chair Ksenia Yudaeva called upon Russian civilians and financial institutions not to dramatize the current situation.

Russian experts point to the fact that Western businesses would face severe losses if they expelled Russia from the international SWIFT system. On the other hand, the alternative system launched by Russia might reduce the negative impacts caused by measures imposed by the West, including possible disconnection from SWIFT, and diminish Western financial dominance over Russia.

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…and one wonders how destabilizing it would be for the world financial system if Russia decided unilaterally to leave SWIFT?

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