Russia settles $1 million London Club debt
The exchange of $31.7 billion in London Club debt for Eurobonds operations in 2000-2001, interest included, represented an issue of $21.2 billion in highly liquid market instruments and a very advantageous 36.5% write-off for Russia of $10.5 billion of the overall debt amount.
So, Vladimir Savov, a head of the analytical department at Otkrytie FC, sees the final settlement as a mere convention, as the sum is too little.
“Talking in terms of the world economy, the sum of $1 million is miscellaneous and this final settlement was mainly technical. It was obvious for everybody that Russia would soon pay its debt, as such economic indicators as Gold and Forex reserves, the country’s GDP showed all necessary precondition for that. So, I think, this will change almost nothing, with Russia’s investment ratings remaining the same.”
However, Anton Struchenevsky, a senior economist at Troika Dialog, is upbeat about the move, saying it will positively influence Russia’s private sector.
“In fact, any reduction of a debt is positive for a country’s future borrowings. This year we expect a small budget deficit, which the country will easily cover with the funds from its Reserve Fund. This will significantly reduce competition for the private sector in the market of foreign borrowings, thus stimulating the development of domestic economy.”
Vladimir Osakovsky, chief economist at UniCredit Bank said that the $30 billion overall debt that Russia still has is marginal when compared with GDP.
“Relative to the $1.2 trillion GDP, Russia’s debt is really negligible and only 2% of GDP. And relative to other countries like some in Europe, Russia is among the countries with the least public debt around.”
This, he says, makes it easier to raise funds in times of crisis.
“Governments do borrow for anti-crisis measures. Russia so far does not need to borrow at the moment, but if they do need to on a large scale for social projects its easy for Russia to raise a significant amount of money in a short time.”
However while Osakovsky believes that the ability to borrow allows the financial system to become more robust as it receives money, it also will raises overall debt.
“In 2010, this low level of public debt is a minimum and this level is due to rise.”