Austrian Banks Remain Unscathed Amidst Global Banking Turmoil, Finance Minister Confirms

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Austria's finance minister, Magnus Brunner, has stated that the country's banking sector has remained unaffected by the global banking turmoil, despite ongoing monitoring. Brunner cited the banks' thorough preparation and successful navigation through the 2008 financial crisis. Furthermore, Brunner defended Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), which has been under scrutiny for continuing to operate in Russia amidst the war in Ukraine. The bank is currently the most important Western bank in Russia, providing financial support to individuals and businesses needing to make international payments. However, the bank has faced increasing pressure to withdraw from Russia from investors and Western officials. Despite this, Brunner maintains that RBI complies with all international sanctions, and is not subject to any sanctions itself.

In addition, the finance minister called on the European Central Bank (ECB) to do more to contain inflation. In March, Austrian inflation fell to an estimated 9.2%, which Brunner still considers to be too high. As a member of the euro zone, Austria is dependent on the ECB, and Brunner believes that the institution is capable of addressing the issue. This comes after the ECB recently announced that it would accelerate the pace of its bond-buying program to combat rising inflation.

Brunner's comments reflect Austria's relative stability within the banking sector amidst the ongoing global turmoil. However, the situation remains fluid, and the effects of the pandemic on the economy and financial systems continue to unfold. Despite this, the Austrian government remains confident in the resilience of its banks and their ability to weather the storm.

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