The Russian Treasury ordered the payment of interest in the amount of 117 million dollars (105 billion euros) which was due on Wednesday in relation to two coupons on bonds issued in dollars, he assured, this Thursday, on the Russian channel. Today (RT) Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. The order was placed through the London branch of US bank Citi, with which the Russian Treasury normally operates. A U.S. Treasury spokesperson told CNN on Thursday that the U.S. will allow the refund to take effect.
However, Bloomberg reported that US bank JPMorgan processed the payment and sent the money to Citi, which is responsible for crediting it to investors’ accounts. Reuters, citing market sources, confirmed there were investors who received the interest in dollars.
Siluanov told Russia Today that “whether or not we can meet our currency obligations does not depend on us.” “We have the money, we paid, now the ball is in the American court,” he added. The Minister threatened that if repayments to external creditors were blocked, he would make the payment in rubles, which, according to the rating agency Fitch, would correspond to a default on a debt issued in dollars, and which must be paid in this currency.
In any event, the Russian Treasury had a grace period of 30 days, until April 15, to clarify the situation before a selective “event of default” could be formally considered (relating to two bond lines).
The payment due Wednesday for two lines of bonds issued in dollars maturing in 2030 and 2041 is part of the schedule of interest payments and repayments that the Russian Treasury will have to make this year under its external debt.
According to the Russian Ministry of Finance, the plan to repay foreign debt obligations in 2022 amounts to 2.53 billion dollars (2.3 billion euros). Expenses, including interest on coupons and amortizations, totaled $5.6 billion (5 billion euros) between March and December ($1.9 billion in amortizations and $3.7 billion in interest), according to data from the Bank of Russia, the central bank. The busiest month is April ($562 million in amortizations and $543 million in interest). In 2023, the Russian Treasury will have to repay 3.35 billion dollars.
Russian public debt is lower than that of Portugal
Also according to the Russian Ministry of Finance, the external public debt amounted to 59.5 billion dollars in February (52.45 billion euros at the average exchange rate of the month), of which 39 billion dollars (34 billion euros) of bonds. More than 60% of foreign debt is issued in rubles (a heavily devalued currency, considered “trash”) and only 40% in foreign currencies.
The external debt of the Treasury is much lower than the internal public debt. The latter, entirely denominated in rubles, totaled 16.61 billion rubles in February, or 158.16 billion dollars (141.1 billion euros), when converting rubles at the end-of-month exchange rate. In total, the Russian public debt. in February, amounted to just over 217 billion dollars (193 billion euros), much less than the Portuguese figure, which amounted in January to 272.4 billion euros.
News updated at 8:00 p.m.