May 13, 2020 / 4:25 PM / 18 days ago

Russian central bank says foreign investors boosted OFZ bond holdings in April

MOSCOW, May 13 (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank said on Wednesday that foreign investors had increased their holdings of OFZ treasury bonds by 59.4 billion roubles ($802.83 million) last month after a sell-off in March.

Citing depositary data, the bank said the share of non-residents holding government-issued OFZ bonds stood at 30.6% at the end of April.

Russia’s Finance Ministry resumed its weekly auctions of treasury bonds in early April after a month-long hiatus caused by the rouble crashing to four-year lows.

Russia is looking to increase borrowing via OFZs because it needs funds to finance its response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected 242,271 people in Russia and caused 2,212 deaths.

The central bank also said that major Russian banks had purchased 42.2% of the OFZ bonds auctioned by the finance ministry in April, while purchases by foreign investors accounted for 37.9% of the bonds.

Foreign investors’ holdings of Russian Eurobonds fell 2.6 percentage points to 51.3% in April, the central bank added. ($1 = 73.9880 roubles) (Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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