Russia mulls using yuan & euro instead of US dollar for external loans in 2020


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Further turning away from the greenback, Russia is eyeing the yuan and the euro as currencies for Eurobonds next year, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said on the sidelines of an IMF and World Bank meeting.

Answering journalists’ questions about the impact of US sanctions on the Russian sovereign debt market, Siluanov said that Moscow will consider the issue as it has been creating the infrastructure to use the Chinese currency for loans in recent years. “We can also try to go into euro,” he added.

Although there are fewer euro investors, Russia doesn’t see any problems with the restrictions on borrowing in dollars, and will not issue Eurobonds denominated in the greenback, he stressed.

Earlier this year, the US imposed another round of financial restrictions on Russia related to the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in the UK. The sanctions prohibit US banks from certain types of engagement with the Russian sovereign debt market, and also stipulate that Washington will oppose any lending to Russia by international financial institutions.

Russia’s budget for 2020 allows Moscow to borrow up to $3 trillion on foreign markets, but if it has to use euro for the loans that figure may be smaller, according to Siluanov.

Next year, Russia is also planning to issue the long-anticipated “Panda” bonds (sovereign debt denominated in Chinese currency). The move may allow Russia and its largest trade partner, China, to skirt US financial pressure of sanctions and tariffs.