© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past Russia’s Finance Ministry building in Moscow, Russia March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
(Reuters) -Russia’s finance ministry has paid 50.2 billion roubles ($616 million) in coupons on seven OFZ treasury bond issues, data on its website showed.
The payments come as the finance ministry is due to make a $447 million coupon payment on Thursday on a dollar Eurobond that matures in 2030.
Investors are watching closely Moscow’s servicing of its debt after Western sanctions aimed at isolating Russia economically.
The sanctions have led European clearing houses Euroclear and Clearstream to limit their business with Russian clients. This has left foreign OFZ investors cut off from their rouble bond holdings and local sovereign Eurobond holders, in turn, from interest payments in hard currency.
The National Settlement Depository (NSD), a Russian national clearing house, citing a central bank’s order, said this month that foreign OFZ bond holders are barred from receiving coupon payments until further notice.
NSD, which processes OFZ interest payments on behalf of the finance ministry, did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for information on which investors received the coupon payouts.
OFZs are used by the government to finance some of its budget needs. Before a growing standoff between Moscow and the west made the bonds a risky asset, they were popular with foreign investors thanks to their lucrative yields and Russia’s then-strong economic fundamentals.
The share of foreign investors among OFZ holders declined to 17.8% in February, the lowest since late 2012, from 19.1% a month earlier.
This week, Russia has offered to repay in roubles part of a $2 billion Eurobond that matures on April 4, to secure payments for local investors who may not be able to receive dollars.
Investors declining the rouble offer would be paid in U.S. dollars on April 4 when repayment is due, a source has said.
($1 = 81.5000 roubles)
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