Foreigners' share of Russian bonds at all-time high, CBR says

Foreigners' share of Russian bonds at all-time high, CBR says
By bne IntelliNews November 17, 2017

Foreign investors' share of Russian treasury bonds reached an all-time high in early October, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) said on November 16.

The share of foreign investors in rouble-denominated OFZ bonds went up to 33.2% on October 1 from 31.6% a month before.

Meanwhile, the CBR also said that foreign investors increased their holdings of Russia sovereign Eurobonds to $14. 6bn as of October 1, which accounts for 36.6% of all the Russian Eurobonds.

As of July 1, foreigners’ share in Russian Eurobonds was at 31.7%.

Separately, Russia’s debt market will only suffer a short-term spike if the US imposes sanctions on the country’s sovereign debt, as it proposed, CBR governor Elvira Nabiullina told Russian lawmakers on November 16.

According to Nabiullina, after the initial shock, yields on OFZs will stabilize around 30 basis points to 40 basis points higher.

Foreign investors will be replaced with local buyers, she added.

"In our opinion, there won’t be an any seriously negative consequences," Nabiullina said. "Although the share of foreigners in the OFZ market is significant, it is limited, and there is always demand for very liquid assets from our banking sector."

Meanwhile, Nabiullina's statements apparently contradict Russia's recently announced plans to hold its first ever road show of yuan-denominated state treasury bills in China, apparently out of concern about US sanctions.

The government will pitch its domestic OFZ treasury bonds denominated in yuan to Chinese investors as part of a strategy to diversify away from western funding sources in case financial sanctions are toughened, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said earlier in November.