October 19, 2019 / 10:01 AM / a month ago

Russia eyes euro, yuan as currency for Eurobonds in 2020 - minister

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Russia will consider issuing sovereign Eurobonds in 2020 denominated in euros or in Chinese yuans, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday.

Moscow is looking for alternative ways to raise money abroad after the United States imposed sanctions this year that prohibit U.S. investors from buying Russian dollar-denominated sovereign debt directly from the finance ministry.

Siluanov, speaking on the sidelines of annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington D.C., said the question of sanctions and how they would impact Russia’s borrowing plan was raised during his talks with investors.

“We don’t see problems as the result of restrictions on borrowing in dollars,” Siluanov told reporters.

“We will see next year. Maybe it will be possible to emit (Eurobonds) in yuans ... (or) in euros.”

Siluanov said Russia has no plans to issue Eurobonds denominated in the U.S. currency after the sanctions.

When speaking about Russia’s privatisation programme, Siluanov said the government should intensify the sale of its stakes in state-controlled companies, which are not crucial for the economy.

“Of course, the privatisation programme should be made more ambitious. We’ve relaxed a little bit, because we don’t need any money...,” he told reporters.

Siluanov also said that the Russian government would add 160 billion roubles ($2.5 billion) to the capital of state development bank VEB by the end of 2019. ($1 = 63.7500 roubles) (Reporting by Megan Davies, Darya Korsunskaya and Maria Tsvetkova; writing by Andrey Ostroukh and Polina Devitt; editing by Ros Russell)

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