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Minister suggests Russia could issue foreign currency bonds to cover budget deficit

Russia may borrow $1.250 bln on the foreign market
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Alexei Ulyukayev

Alexei Ulyukayev

© Alexei Pavlishak/TASS

SCHETINKA SETTLEMENT, August 22. /TASS/. Russia could cover its 2016 budget deficit in 2016 by issuing foreign currency bonds, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters.

When asked what funds the government will use to cover the budget deficit instead of revenues from privatization of Bashneft company the minister said:

"We see that the share of foreign investors on the (Russian) stock market is growing, we see that they actively participate in the privatization deals, such as the sale of Alrosa and also in placement of corporate bonds. Therefore, I am sure, that Russia’s foreign currency bonds will be in great demand."

He said that Russia still has an option to issue bonds on foreign market.

"Under the law on the budget we still can borrow $1.250 bln on the foreign market - we may use this tool," the official said.

He added that Russia may also substantially increase borrowings on the domestic market.

Ulyukayev said that he is an advocate for covering the deficit through borrowing rather than from reserve funds.

Earlier this month Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev postponed privatization of oil producer Bashneft.

Ulyukayev said earlier that the Russian government intended to sell 50.08% of Bashneft shares before the end of 2016. Different options of the deal are being considered, in particular the sale of company’s shares on the exchange or their divestment to a strategic investor.

Bashneft oil company operates in more than 20 regions of Russia and abroad. The Federal Property Management Agency owns 50 plus 1 share in the company’s share capital; the republic of Bashkortostan holds 25% plus one share. Bashneft’s shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange.

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