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Rabobank forecast a recovery in the second half of this year as private consumption picks up faster than expected, but cautioned in a statement that Russian sanctions could have an adverse impact on its business customers.
“The consequences of the trade conflict with Russia that has recently flared up represent an uncertain factor,” the bank said, adding that sanctions could have a “limited” impact on its performance, in a further sign that the continuing stand-off over Ukraine is creating uncertainty for businesses across Europe.
It has also banned a collection of other western food and drink products, through Rospotrebnadzor, its consumer protection agency, which on Wednesday temporarily shut down four McDonald’s restaurants, including the group’s flagship Moscow location.
“We are assuming that the current trade conflict will not continue to escalate and that the climate of trust will not be further eroded,” Rabobank’s statement said. “Should this happen, nonetheless, a weaker development of the economy in 2014 and 2015 cannot be excluded.