$20Bln Fails To Contain Rising Rates

The government's injection of $20 billion into the money markets to spur bank lending on Tuesday failed to contain soaring lending rates that may crimp economic growth.

The one-day MosPrime overnight rate, a gauge for monitoring demand, leapt 241 basis points to a record 10.83 percent, indicating that the sum pumped into the banking system had no impact. Banks borrowed 361 billion rubles ($14 billion) at the Central Bank's two daily repo auctions and a further 150 billion rubles in the Finance Ministry's weekly auction.

"More than $20 billion was injected into the market before lunchtime, but there is no sign of it," said Vladimir Osakovsky, an economist at UniCredit. "There's no shortage of money, but there is a crisis of trust."

Tighter access to credit and stock market losses are making it more expensive for Russian companies to borrow and refinance existing debt, curtailing investment.

UniCredit may revise down its fourth-quarter economic growth forecast from 6.3 percent, Osakovsky said. No one will know for sure how badly the financial system will be affected until banks report quarterly earnings, he said.

Central Bank Deputy Chairman Konstantin Korishchenko said Tuesday that the country had the ability to cover all "conceivable" liquidity needs for the banking industry, RIA-Novosti reported, and could provide as much as 3 trillion rubles ($120 billion) to banks.