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Citi lost $100 million on investments related to Ukraine crisis

Pro-Russian militants guard an armored personnel carrier in Slovyansk, Ukraine, in April.Pro-Russian militants guard an armored personnel carrier in Slovyansk, Ukraine, in April.
Pro-Russian militants guard an armored personnel carrier in Slovyansk, Ukraine, in April.Photo: Mauricio Lima/The New York Times/Redux

While Citigroup’s $7 billion bill to settle mortgage-related claims in the U.S. generated a lot of headlines Monday, the bank also booked a loss related to a bet it made on the market’s reaction to the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine.

Most of the market’s attention on Monday focused on two key details: First, Citi (C) agreed to pay billions to settle claims by the U.S. government and several state attorneys generals relating to shoddy residential mortgages underwritten by the bank in the run-up to the financial crisis between 2003 and 2008. Secondly, while the charges related to that settlement all but wiped away the bank’s second-quarter profit, it shares rose in mid-day trading Monday because its poor results nevertheless exceeded Wall Street’s expectations.

But Citi also acknowledged that it recorded an investment loss of around $100 million related to the geopolitical situation in Ukraine. Equity markets revenue slid 26% in the second quarter from a year ago to $659 million, a decline that reflected the weak trading performance in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as lower client activity.

In the second quarter, Citi hedged its investments in the region in anticipation of a “significant negative market reaction” to the tension between Ukraine and Russia, the bank told analysts during a conference call. Russia reclaimed Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine, in March–a decision that raised concerns about potential damage to the European and global economies.

But Citi on Monday said the negative market reaction didn’t materialize to the extent it had expected, and thus, recorded a loss on those investments in the latest quarter.