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Swift block deals
A decision by Western allies on Saturday (Feb 26) to block "selected" Russian banks from the SWIFT payments system will inflict a crippling economic blow, but also cause much pain to their own companies and banks. And the allies still have room to do more. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is a secure messaging system to ensure rapid cross-border payments which has become the principal mechanism to finance international trade.
Russian banks denied access to SWIFT will find it harder to communicate with peers internationally, even in friendly countries such as China, slowing trade and making transactions costlier. But the allies, who also vowed curbs on Russian's central bank to limit its ability to support the rouble, have not yet said which banks would be targeted. That would be crucial to the measure's impact, said sanctions and banking experts.
The decision to kick some banks off SWIFT, though not all, could encourage "nesting", in which Russian entities turn to non-sanctioned banks and large multinationals instead in a bid to access the global financial system, one expert said.
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