21 Jan 2020 18:38

Russia's foreign debt grew 5.9% in 2019, to $481.5 bln due to increased government debt - CBR estimate

MOSCOW. Jan 21 (Interfax) - Russia's foreign debt grew by $26.8 billion (5.9%) in 2019, from $454.7 billion to $481.5 billion, according to an estimate on the Central Bank's website.

"The most substantial influence on the aggregate's dynamics was exerted by nonresidents' acquisition of sovereign securities, which were denominated both in Russian rubles and in foreign currencies. External debt of [the] private sector has not changed significantly: growth of liabilities within the framework of other sectors' direct investment relationships, was partially offset by reduction of banks' external debt liabilities," the bank said.

In Q4 2019, the foreign debt was up $7.8 billion or 1.6% from $473.7 billion. It rose by $14 billion in Q1 and by $13.9 billion in Q2 after falling by $8.9 billion in Q3.

General government external debt was up by $25.5 billion or 5.8% in 2019 to $69.5 billion. This is a high unseen for government debt since April 1, 2006, when it came to slightly over $69.5 billion).

Debt to nonresidents on ruble-denominated federal loan bonds was up the equivalent of $20.4 billion or by 79% to $46.1 billion.

Debts on foreign currency bonds were up 33.5% or $5,6 billion to $22.3 billion.

In Q4, government debt increased by $4.7 billion, including an increase of $5.5 billion for ruble-denominated government bonds and a decline of $500 million for foreign currency bonds.

Russian banks saw their external debts fall 9.5% ($8 billion) to $76.5 billion in the year, while rising $2 billion in Q4.

The external debt of non-banking sectors increased 2.6% ($3.2 billion) in the year to $322.6 billion and fell $900 million in Q4. Debt liabilities to direct investors and to direct investment enterprises increased 5.5% ($7.5 billion) to $143.7 billion. Debt on loans fell 0.7% ($1.2 billion) to $157.8 billion, while trade loans increased 68% ($2.1 billion) to $5.1 billion.

The Central Bank's foreign debt rose by $1 billion in the year to $12.9 billion and increased by $2 billion in Q4.